Dear Parents, Carers, Clients and Families,
Well, it’s the news none of us wanted. Back in May, we decided to review our service plan on Monday 13 July, but this certainly wasn’t what we’d hoped to be writing about at the start of Term 3, 2020.
The recent increase in Covid 19 transmissions in our community means a return to home schooling in Term 3, and another extended period of online services for DWSP. Whilst our therapists have enjoyed seeing so many clients online and it has created some exciting new opportunities for families, we have also really loved seeing a few families face to face in the clinic the few times we could over the past 6 weeks.
Throughout the COVID-19 situation we’ve remained guided by the advice of the Chief Health Officer, information provided by the World Health Organisation and the Department of Health, as well as advice provided by our professional associations. Whilst our services are “essential” we have also now been advised to wear masks and gloves during sessions. As you can imagine, this can make social skills, speech sounds, and general interactions fairly intimidating, so we’re glad we have the option to continue online where we can see each other’s faces!
Today’s update outlines:
1) Online services to continue until Monday 31 August
2) School and community site visits
3) Online offerings to watch out for in Term 3
1) We have extended our online service delivery period to Monday 31 August
As our community faces an increase in COVID 19 transmissions and a heightened awareness of remaining in isolation, all face-to-face sessions until Monday 27July will be converted to online appointments as part of the extension to the school holiday period.
Over the next 6 weeks we will continue to review our plan in light of information and guidance provided by the Government and the Department of Health.
- From Monday 20 July – Monday 31 August, the vast majority of our sessions will remain online.
- After Monday 27 July, one-off sessions, regarded as essential, may still be offered in clinic during this period. Sessions will be offered on a case-by-case basis, with appropriate personal protective equipment to be worn by our staff, following approval from our Clinical Director and pre appointment checks.
- Please note that sessions in the clinic are offered at the discretion of DWSP based on client need, and we are grateful for your understanding during this time.
From September onwards, we believe that services and people who can work from home that can remain “non-contact” will continue to be asked to do so. Telehealth remains a viable way for us to support our community in reducing the spread of COVID-19. Should this eventuate, our plan (as it was in May/June 2020) will be to offer some infrequent face-to-face sessions for clients and families in addition to regular Telehealth; with the bulk of sessions to continue online where possible, and gradually work forward to full face to face service once more.
We continue to take this socially responsible position to continue to support our community in managing COVID -19 whilst also providing clients with a different facet to their ongoing care. We are guided by the information available to us, balanced by our desire to be back in the clinics working face to face! We will continue to keep you informed as things progress. In the meantime, all services will continue to be offered online until our next review point, Monday 31 August.
What does this mean for you?
- For clients who are already attending Telehealth sessions:
Your sessions will be continue to be booked as online sessions during this time. Please chat with your therapist if you would like to adjust your session times during this next homeschooling period.
- For families using Medicare:
Medicare continues to support Telehealth services with rebates available for sessions provided on the phone or online. Check with your GP regarding your eligbility for Medicare rebates. Please do let us know if you are experiencing financial hardship and still want to continue your therapy – we can arrange a no-gap service for you with a Medicare plan to support you during this time.
- For clients using NDIS funding using Telehealth:
A reminder that the NDIS offers flexibility in funding for clients who require technology to access their supports. As we are now 100% online, the purchase of technology or devices may be considered reasonable and necessary for clients needing specific access to attend sessions and achieve goals. Please speak with your therapist if you need support through this process and they can walk you through the NDIS requirements.
- For families who prefer to wait for a return to face to face care:
If you still have sessions booked in the next 6 weeks, our admin team will contact you and offer you the option to cancel your booked sessions or arrange an online appointment. Due to the uncertain nature of the timeframe to return to face to face sessions, we are unable to hold future session times for families waiting for face to face service. We are happy to keep you on a waitlist for sessions when regular face to face supports resume.
2) Home / school / community visits:
Most of the schools we work in have already indicated they will return to online supports, with face-to-face options to be considered after Monday 31 August. We are happy to support families with adjusted online session times during the home schooling period.
After Monday 27 July, some community visits (at childcare / kinder) regarded as essential may still be offered on a case-by-case basis, providing appropriate steps to ensure safety can be met. DWSP will continue to support each of our therapists to decide whether they will personally choose to offer this service during this period. Home visits cannot be offered during this time.
Any therapist providing community sessions will advise our administrators, who will contact clients to arrange the sessions. Our attendance will also be directed by individual centres and whether they are willing to have external practitioners onsite.
3) Term 3 online services for families will expand – keep an eye out for:
- For Prep-Grade 3 students – our free “Science with Nat” program will run weekly on Thursdays at 2.45pm
- Online social skills programs may be offered later in the term.
Keep an eye on our Facebook site and blog for more details of these programs and how to join them…
We’re taking lockdown v2.0 step by step, and we’re grateful we’ve kept the majority of our sessions online during the past few weeks so that we are all still in the swing of things.
We know some clients are thriving in their online sessions, and some are just sticking with it during this time, and for some it will be the right time to take a break. We are grateful to you for letting us know what your family needs, and for trusting us to work with you during a period of ongoing and significant challenge and change for us all.
As always, we are guided by the information available to us and will continue to keep you informed as things progress. We can’t wait for things to be normal, and to be back in the clinic supporting our clients, and to be back in person with our team.
In the meantime, we’ll review again on Monday 31 August, and adjust our plans, once again, at this time.
We wish you, your family and your loved ones, a steady and safe 6 weeks ahead.
The DWSP Team