COVID-19 Updates - Afea

Updates

April 9, 2020 – A Message from our CEO

To our Valued Community,

Thank you for your presence through this time.

Thank you for rallying together and working so closely with us. We wanted to make special mention of all our referrers and trusted alliances that have kept faith in our capacity and capabilities to deliver throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

This is by far the most challenging external economic hardship that we all will face as individuals, maybe in this lifetime.

We are pleased to say that through our Pandemic Planning Committee we have been able to execute quickly and adapt to the crisis. In my previous two CEO updates, I mentioned the measures we have taken to ensure that we have business continuity and our clients can continue to receive a high level of care services without disruption. The measures we’ve taken have allowed us to remain in flow and continue delivering care across Sydney metropolitan areas. Our Carers have been issued PPE, including masks and gloves to prevent any potential risk of the virus spreading.

For our clients, there are trusted guidelines on the NDIA website, click here to read them.

The guidelines state that it is not a requirement for support workers to wear masks if they are not themselves, or have been in contact with, a confirmed case of COVID-19 or people who have recently travelled. Despite this, we will continue issuing masks and ensuring we place the safety of our Carers and clients at the centre of all of our decisions.

We are incredibly proud of our systems, processes and policies that strengthen our delivery of care. We are most proud of the bonds that we have internally and externally with our industry partners and alliances, our clients and referrers. Our greatest strength comes from our relationships supporting each other through challenging times. We are pleased to say that more than ever, we are supporting our employees to feel confident in their employment. We are also equally committed to assisting our referrers, partners and alliances as well as doing whatever it takes to deliver the highest care services to our clients. Keeping our clients safe and away from any risk is an important priority for us.

As a closing note, I would like to wish you a joyful Easter long weekend in the comfort of your homes, with your close family and friends on video calls celebrating with you. Wishing all of our community a peaceful time full of rest and relaxation.

We look forward to our continued connection with you and collectively being of service to our community.

Kind Regards,
Esha Oberoi
Founder & CEO Afea Care Services

March 30, 2020 – Temporary Changes to the NDIS Price Guide

Afea would like to inform you that the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has implemented a new pricing structure in response to the rapid development of COVID-19. The measures are to support providers to continue to deliver services to National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Participants through this time.

The NDIA has introduced a COVID-19 pricing update in the newly released NDIS Price Guide 2019-20 effective 25th March 2020 which has temporarily (for 6 months) increased price limits by 10% and has changed the definition of late notice cancellation and its charges. As this is only a temporary measure, participants’ plans will not be indexed.

The NDIA is implementing several measures to ensure participants continue to have access to funds to purchase essential supports, including automatically extending plans that are due to expire for 365 days, ensuring participants have the funding they need. Given circumstances, NDIA is taking a flexible approach to amending plans by prioritising essential needs of participants. We encourage you to speak with your dedicated Care Coordinator to find out how this will affect you and the services you are currently receiving.

As per the new NDIA Price Guide, participants will be required to give 10 business days’ notice (up from current two days) for a cancellation if they want to avoid paying the full fee for a cancelled service.

Effective, 30th March 2020, service providers will also be able to claim 100% of the agreed support price when a participant cancels a service at short notice (up from 90%).

Please be informed whilst the NDIA is now recommending 10 days’ notice of cancellation, here at Afea, we understand that this may not be possible for some of our clients, hence we have decided to keep our cancellation policy unchanged and our clients can continue providing 24 hours’ notice if they wish to cancel a service.

These measures that the NDIS has introduced are to help provide stability to service providers who are impacted by COVID-19. It will enable service providers such as Afea to continue supporting NDIS participants in the community in this time of adversity, and beyond.

Should you have any queries in relation to the Fee changes, please feel free to contact your helpful Afea Care Coordinator at 1300 65 11 33 (option 1). We also encourage you to visit the NDIS website to stay up do date with news related to COVID-19. Click here to visit their page.

We thank you for trusting Afea with your care needs and would like to assure you that we are taking all necessary measures and precautions to ensure the safety of our clients and staff members through the coronavirus outbreak.

March 26, 2020 – A Message from our CEO

To our Valued Community,

I hope you are keeping your energy and strength intact during one of the most challenging and unthinkable times that we are going through at the moment. We do not know how long this will last, whether 3 months, 6 months or longer.

What we know for certain is that we are open, and prepared to support more Clients in the coming months. Following from my previous communication and in response to the COVID-19 crisis, we have already:

  • Started completing remote assessments and virtual work health and safety checks as a part of Client on-boarding
  • Our Clients are being armed with questions that they can ask as a precautionary check in before receiving visits
  • Our Carers are being up-skilled further in identifying risks and calling them out
  • We are taking remote interviews and Zoom inductions to ensure business continuity for recruitment
  • Our Carers and Clients are regularly receiving well-being and check-in calls from our Care Coordination team

I encourage the provider community to come together now and support our Clients and our Carers within the spirit of collaboration and keeping Clients’ care at the centre of every decision.

The well-being and continued health of our Clients and Carers is our #1 priority and we are committed to doing whatever it takes in ensuring continuation of services without disruption.

We at Afea Care Services, are a community focused provider and more willing than ever before to work together. If you have any questions about our services and capacity, now is the time to call us. Our intake team can be contacted on hello@afea.com.au.

If you need anything from me personally, I am more than happy to answer any questions about what we are doing to safeguard our people from the COVID-19 crisis. Please email me on eoberoi@afea.com.au or call me on 02 8913 6400.

Kind Regards,
Esha Oberoi
Founder & CEO Afea Care Services

March 19, 2020 – A Message from our CEO

To our valued community,

We have never experienced a pandemic like this in an age where we have a huge number of social media users across the world. Everyone can openly and publicly express their responses whether rational or irrational. Coronavirus (COVID-19) has received more media attention than any other pandemic in the past. At times like this we have to make an additional effort to differentiate between the hype coming from the media and the facts.

We need to remind ourselves that in our community we already have people that are vulnerable. People that have a disability or are frail because of their age. This vulnerability increases at times where the media is creating a frenzied response from the community.

The health of our clients and employees is of utmost importance to us.

That is why we have been proactive in our response to coronavirus. Our services are necessary for the health and welfare of our clients, therefore we continue to support them through our home and community care.

We have a dedicated Pandemic Planning Team that meets weekly to address the evolving coronavirus situation.

In the last month, the team has implemented a number of extra precautions and actioned the following:

  • Requiring staff who have returned from overseas to self quarantine and not return to work or work remotely for 14 days
  • Any employees with flu-like symptoms to self-quarantine, seek medical attention, and not return to work until a minimum of 24 hours after symptoms have stopped completely, or once cleared by a doctor
  • Communications to clients and their representatives asking them to practice safe hygiene for themselves and their Carers to prevent spreading the virus
  • Asking that any clients displaying symptoms let us know immediately and steps from there will be taken by management on a case by case basis
  • Upgrading our remote working technology and testing our office staff and call centre’s capabilities to work from home in the event of forced lockdowns
  • Remotely conducting on-boarding, assessments and check-ins with clients and their representatives where possible
  • Calling all clients ahead of face-to-face meetings to ask if anyone they have had contact with has come back from overseas, been diagnosed with coronavirus or displayed any symptoms of cold and flu and if necessary, postpone or use an alternative such as phone / video conferencing
  • Creating internal communications and an informative video explaining proper hygiene standards and the newly implemented precautions

We are currently waiting on another delivery of masks, gloves, shoe coverings and sanitisers and will be distributing them to our Carers as soon as possible.

Although this is a difficult time, we want to assure you that we are doing everything we can to ensure business continuity, so our clients remain supported. This is our top priority.

We are still working with our referrers and new enquiries and have capacity to assist more clients should anyone require assistance during this time.

On a more personal note, I hope we can all find some peace and sanity in this noisy digital world where bad news is spreading faster than the virus itself. Each time we find that we are moving into that space of fogginess, confusion and questioning what will happen, I hope we can all ground ourselves by thinking of the people that we share this community with; people that have a disability, that are ageing alone at home, our children who look up to us for clarity. Let’s hold a space of strength and comfort for those that need and depend on our essential services.

Our team is here to continue offering support and look forward to improving the lives the more vulnerable people in our community.

Kind Regards,
Esha Oberoi
Founder & CEO Afea Care Services
eoberoi@afea.com.au

March 6, 2020 – Health and Safety Update

The health and safety of our clients and staff is our highest priority. Afea is closely monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Wuhan region of China.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared COVID-19 a Global Public Health Emergency and they anticipate that the COVID-19 will become pandemic. At Afea, we will continue to monitor the situation closely and will update this statement accordingly.

We recommend that you stay vigilant and follow the guidelines and practices outlined below. Countries may be directed to put in place strong measures appropriate with the risk. It is important to note that as the situation continues to evolve, so will the strategic goals and measures to prevent and reduce spread of the infection.

While person to person spread is occurring, it is still unclear how soon after exposure people become ill, and how contagious individuals without symptoms are to others. To minimise the risk of infection, it is required that any employee who has been travelling to stay home and monitor health for 14 days and seek medical evaluation/guidance for fever, cough or respiratory symptoms. Close contact is defined as living with or being with a family member or friend for extended periods of time and includes sharing meals drinks and personal space (90-180 cm).

Good Health Practices:

COVID-19 is primarily a respiratory infection. There is currently no vaccine or medication to treat it. Therefore, it is important to stay vigilant and practice good hygiene. The following preventative actions you can take to reduce your risk of respiratory infection are as follows:

  • Get a seasonal flu shot
  • Properly wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Clean your hands with hand sanitiser containing at least 60% alcohol
  • Avoid hugs and handshakes; use alternative greeting methods
  • Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, nose or mouth
  • Practice good cough hygiene by using a tissue, sleeve or into your elbow to cover your nose and mouth
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces and keep your personal space clean
  • Wear surgical mask if you display symptoms to prevent spread of the virus
How can Afea clients help prevent the spread of infection?
Clients should:
  • Allow Afea Carers to do proper hand washing for at least 20 seconds before starting a service and as often required during a service
  • Wear a surgical mask if you show any of the COVID-19 symptoms to prevent spread of the infection
  • Inform Afea Carer and Care Coordinator if you or any of your family members have recently travelled or transited through a moderate-risk or high-risk country

Individuals who have a chronic medical condition (such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease), are pregnant or over 65 years old may be at a greater risk. Contact your health care provider as soon as possible for appropriate guidance.

There are plenty of useful resources that the Department of Health has curated in their website. We encourage you to regularly check their website for more up to date information.

For further information, please visit the following website that we ourselves have found useful:

  1. https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert
  2. https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200301-sitrep-41-covid-19.pdf?sfvrsn=6768306d_2

Afea will continue to monitor the situation to ensure the measures we take are appropriate and effective. We encourage you to pay close attention to any additional announcements from the Australian Department of Health. Should you have any queries in relation with this matter, we encourage you to visit the Department of Health homepage at www.health.gov.au. Alternatively, you can also contact the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080.