Dear members of the public,
From 6 August 2020, metropolitan Melbourne entered into Stage Four Restrictions following the Premier's announcement that we have entered into a State of Disaster due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) have announced that AHPRA registered health professionals under the Healthcare sector can remain open to provide essential face to face services to all patients who are at risk of significant deterioration, hospitalisation and/or functional decline. This applies to both on-site (clinic visits) or in-home care (home visits).
1. Our Response
There are no restrictions to accessing our therapy for whatever reason if you choose the telehealth option. This is described in detail here.
If you are a current or new client who would like to book a face to face consultation, please give us a call on (03) 9555 2273 to discuss your situation so we can determine whether you would fulfill our Essential Criteria for providing services to you during this time.
2. Allowable Travel for Essential Services
Based on updated information from DHHS, clients are allowed to travel beyond the 5km radius from their home to access essential services such as ours directly.
All clients who are coming in for clinic appointments will receive an email reminder with important information which you can show police or other government authorities if you get stopped during your travel to and from our clinic site. We encourage you to carry photo ID and verification of your need for essential services on you if possible to aid authorities. When you arrive, you must adhere to all our policies including onsite hand hygiene, mask wearing, registering additional essential carers or family and maintaining physical distancing in the waiting area.
All clients who are receiving home visits will also receive an email reminder with other important information, and clients are to wear face masks for the duration of the home visit unless a clinical need arises to remove it.
If you become unwell or live with someone who becomes unwell then you must inform us immediately and cancel the appointment. We urge you to self-isolate and seek COVID testing or medical attention as appropriate.
Our therapists who are on home visits will carry DHHS Compliant Worker Permits issued specifically for the purposes of providing essential home visits or travelling to provide on-site clinical services at our clinics.
3. No Aged Care Home Visits
As outbreaks in aged care homes have become unmanageable we are no longer providing home visits to aged care homes for the next 6 weeks. We will however continue to provide services to group homes or specialist disability accommodation with additional precautions of calling ahead on the day of the appointment and screening for suspected cases of COVID-19. We apologise in advance if you are from an aged care home where your only option to engage with us is through telehealth.
4. Staff Workplace Limitation
Currently DHHS are permitting to healthcare workers to work across multiple sites. Operationally we are minimising staff movement and are encouraging all clinical staff to remain on one clinical site where feasible. This means that alternate approaches or options will be presented to you so please discuss this openly with your therapist.
In addition, we will limit contact with all other staff members while at that site for all meal breaks and time between consultations. All staff have been advised to work from home for telehealth, meetings, professional development and administrative activities. All meetings are now virtual.
5. New Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Measures
DHHS have introduced additional mandatory PPE requirements for healthcare workers. Therefore, clinical staff will be wearing eye protection (such as face shields) as well as surgical masks for all face to face consultations, and abide by all proper and heightened disinfection protocols and guidelines. All non-clinical staff will continue physical distancing and surgical mask use when at work.
You can also be assured that all staff will continue to self-isolate and present themselves for testing if they develop any COVID like symptoms, and I urge you to do the same.
6. COVIDSafe Plans
All businesses in Victoria that are remaining open must have a COVIDSafe Plan, which is a toolkit designed to prepare us to deal with suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the workplace and to assist in adapting to the pandemic. This Plan will be in addition to our Pandemic Response Plan already in place. We will follow the steps outlined in both these documents and defer to DHHS for accurate and up to date advice should a case in a client or staff member arise. All contact tracing will then follow and this may mean that we have to close part of or our entire clinical operations. All relevant personnel will be informed if this happens.
7. Workplace Register
In order to facilitate contact tracing, we will continue to enforce all visitors to our clinic sites who are not known clients to register their presence if they intend to stay for more than 15 minutes. Please inform any essential carers or family members that they will need to do this if they intend to accompany you to therapy.
8. Planning Ahead
Please note that there is new information emerging and the advice is constantly being updated, often with little to no formal announcement and key details yet to be determined. Therefore, we hope you can understand that we are doing our best to keep everyone updated and still serve your needs as well as that of our community in this very challenging time for us all.
I know that's a lot of information. So I can understand that you may be feeling overwhelmed. If you are concerned with any of the above measures, have a question or would like to discuss feedback or suggestions, please contact reception and a senior member of our leadership team or myself will respond back to you respectfully.
Thank you for your ongoing loyalty and trust, not only for sharing your rehabilitation and therapy journey with us but also for your heart and spirit. I know we will get through this together and I do hope to see many of you with us when the lockdown is over.
On behalf of the Klint family, best wishes and stay safe.
Director at Klint