COVID-19 RESPONSE - UPDATE
Dear OTFC Group Clients,
With the impending changes to border closures in the coming weeks, we have been required to assess our risk measures for COVID exposure given our vulnerable clientele and wonderful staff. This has not been an easy exercise with little help from our governing and regulating bodies. We feel it is our duty to protect our community as best we can whilst also ensuring we can continue to provide services and protect the staff who are providing those services.
EFFECTIVE FROM MONDAY 29th NOVEMBER 2021, AT ALL OTFC GROUP SITES
PLEASE BE RESPECTFUL, KIND AND PATIENT
As we begin to live with COVID in the community, we are all a little nervous and scared about what that feels like. It is important we remember we are learning this new roadmap together. We ALL might get it wrong at times and that is ok. Please be patient with our team as we learn to navigate all the questions, the different scenarios, the reporting, the extra cleaning, the washing, the diary management, and our long waitlists for therapy. We will not tolerate any bullying or harassment toward any of our staff about the decisions we are making as an organisation and if any staff member reports these behaviours, therapy will cease immediately. We are not going to have all the answers and we are certainly not going to be able to keep everyone happy all the time. We are comfortable with that because we know our intent is good and all we want to do is provide services to our families, keep our staff and community safe and continue to make a difference in your lives.
Under the Emergency Management Healthcare Setting Workers Vaccination, no 3 Direction issued by South Australian Government, all OTFC Group staff members, as well as any contracted workers to the OTFC Group are required to have received at least their first dose of a COVID vaccine by November 8th, 2021. We can confirm that all OTFC Group team members are fully vaccinated. This also means any support workers, cleaners, external consultants, volunteers, and other contracted workers who work within any of our sites are required to be fully vaccinated.
There is a large percentage of our clientele who fall into the vulnerable persons category (under the age of 12 years who are not able to be vaccinated) and it is critical that we find a way of keeping them safe.
At this stage, the Government or Regulating bodies are encouraging all persons above 12 years of age to be vaccinated. The OTFC Group team members are strongly encouraging this behaviour. We are a small business who work with vulnerable clients. We will not be able to provide services to families if our staff are constantly in quarantine, nor will the business be able to survive long and rolling periods of shutdown due to lack of staff. We respect everyone’s right to choose their Covid vaccination status but with that choice comes risk that we are responsible for. To ensure we minimise this risk without enforcing mandatory vaccinations for all clients and families above 12 years we are asking the following:
· If you can be vaccinated, please do so.
· All clients wear either a mask or a face shield. The Risk Matrix as outlined by the Chief Public Officer has determined that in the instance of a positive COVID case, if both people are wearing a mask, it means the other person is only considered a casual contact which reduces the quarantine period and risk of possible infection. We understand there are some clients where this will not be possible, and in those circumstance, the OT will manage this risk directly with you and your child.
· You and your child follow the requests made by staff at all times.
· You respect the decisions of our OT’s .
SA Health will be reviewing their processes every two weeks and the OTFC Group will adjust any of these measures to align with any new data or recommendations as provided.
Every person who enters the site must use the QR code or sign in sheet upon arrival to check-in. The client services team will be asking to see your green tick so please have this ready for them.
MANDATORY HAND WASHING AND/OR SANITISING
Upon entering the sites, please sanitise your hands immediately. The OT team will also ask your child to sanitise or hand wash before entering any therapy spaces and once they have finished their session.
One member of the staff will be at each site to take you and your child’s temperature and if it is above 37.5 degrees, the OT session will be cancelled for that day.
All persons entering the OTFC Group practice will be asked their vaccination status via an online form to ensure privacy is maintained and all persons continue to feel safe and respected in our spaces. The information is collected via an internal QR code that is directly submitted and recorded in our Practice Management System that holds all your other confidential client information. If you choose not to provide this data, one of our leadership team will be in contact with you. This information is critical not only to SA Health (if there is a positive case at the OTFC Group) but to our staff, their health and their livelihood. When you check-in with staff, you will be provided with this QR code.
Let’s face it – Nobody likes wearing them, but they do serve a very important function in reducing the risk of transmission. Where possible, EVERYONE entering an OTFC Group location will be asked to wear a mask or a face shield to keep themselves and others protected. If you have a mask exemption, please provide this to the client services team and your OT upon arrival. We appreciate children do not have to wear a face mask under the age of 12 and no longer are required to wear them in school settings, however we are not a school with government funding to help keep us open and we do not want to mandate vaccines for our community. Therefore, we are trying to find a balance to keep us all safe and masks are one way of doing that.
We would like adults and young people to wear masks or keep 1.5m away from other people as much as possible. Please bring your masks from home that you and your child are comfortable wearing. We are leaving it to our team of OT’s to make the determination about what they are comfortable with regards to working with their clients who cannot wear masks, and we ask that you respect their requests so as they can continue working and providing therapy. We have a range of solutions available to cater for different scenarios and as they present themselves, we will manage them.
CAREGIVERS/SIBLINGS IN THE ROOM – limit to less than 15 minutes
In assessing the risk in the instance of a COVID exposure, SA Health have determined there are many factors that contribute to determine if people are casual or close contacts, which then impacts their quarantine time and risk of infection. Based on the information we have been provided from SA Health, the following changes will take place:
Caregivers at OTFC Adelaide (Waymouth Street, Adelaide) will be limited to watching their child in the therapy room to less than 15 minutes. Please see above note about bringing siblings to therapy sessions under these new conditions and discuss with your OT how best to manage this moving forward. If you are unsure or foresee this as an issue, please make a call to the Client Services Team at your child’s site to discuss.
Caregivers at other sites have viewing rooms to observe from but please ensure you follow social distancing guidelines.
For new families accessing our practice for the very first time, we apologise as your experience will look and feel a little different, but your and our safety is a primary concern, and we trust you understand that.
For families accessing our sites for an Assessment or Review Assessment Appointment, your attendance in the room is required for periods of time and your Assessing OT will direct this for you. Our preference is to only have one caregiver attend however we understand at times this may not always be possible.
Effective from November 23rd please do not bring other family members to your OT session and limit those in attendance to 1 extra person. We know this can be difficult to organise and manage but we only have limited room available at each site for families. If it is unavoidable that you have more than one family member with you, please drop your child off and then pick them up at their finish time either remaining outside or in your car (please call the client services team to let them know this is required). Those within the same family group are not required to socially distance however those from different family groups are required to stay 1.5m apart whilst in the practices.
Please do not attend any OTFC Group site if you or your child is feeling unwell or experiencing any cold like or COVID symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath, change in taste or smell, diarrhea, vomiting, headache or body aches). Call the client services team and book a teletherapy session with your OT or find a time to do a make-up session. Please ensure you or your child are COVID tested and receive a negative test before returning for face-to-face therapy at any of our locations. If you do attend for Therapy at the OTFC Group and the OT is not comfortable with any signs or symptoms you or your child are displaying, they have the authority to cancel the therapy session and reschedule it.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU, YOUR CHILD OR A MEMBER OF YOUR FAMILY RECIEVES A POSITIVE COVID TEST?
Please call 8410 4522 and ask to speak to Jo (#6). There will be a list of questions to answer so we can then collate the data required to provide to SA Health. SA Health will be the governing body to determine what the course of action is and who are considered close or casual contacts. Each case is going to present differently, and we will respond accordingly ensuring we keep our community informed every step of the way.
WHAT ARE WE DOING TO KEEP YOU AND US SAFE? What will be different?
- Physical Distancing where possible
- Keep meetings to online forum
- Hand sanitiser stations at entry / exit points
- Ensure bathrooms are well stocked with hand wash, hand towels etc
- Instruct our staff to limit contact with others as much as possible
- Each therapy space is cleaned at the end of each client’s session with correct disinfectant – this means your OT session will need to end 5 minutes earlier to facilitate this
- Provide gloves for OT’s to use if they cannot limit touching their clients
- Instruct our staff to stay home if they are unwell
- Change linen at the end of each day
- Increase the after-hours cleaning at each site
- Nominate a staff member at each site to champion safe practices and be a COVID Marshall
- Ensure we are stocked with masks, face shields and cleaning products to keep our staff and community safe
- Have a plan for when we are informed someone is positive for COVID
- All payments will now be completed via tap and go – cash will not be accepted at any OTFC Group site
- Screens will be installed at the reception desks as another way of protecting the community
- Staff will be gently reminding ALL people to wear their masks and abide by the 1.5m distance at all times.
GROUPS, COMMUNITY OUTINGS, CAMPS
For the foreseeable future, all our service offerings will continue, and our team of OT’s will navigate this ensuring we limit the amount of touching and the space between clients where possible. If you would like to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to reach out.
CANCELLATION / REGISTRATION POLICY
This remains the same. If you are unwell, you should not be accessing school, work, or any other services. Where possible, we suggest directly swapping the face-to-face therapy appointment for a teletherapy session or a make-up session, so therapy is not missed.
We hope this correspondence answers some of your questions and provides clarity around how the OTFC Group is managing South Australia’s new COVID Roadmap.
We thank you for your assistance in keeping our team and community safe.
If you would like to update your Covid Vaccination status now, please click here
If you require further information, please email [email protected]u.