COVID update - January 2022

Achieve Australia is currently managing COVID safety and exposures as required using the well-developed systems, processes, and procedures we have followed successfully since the pandemic began in 2020.

 The very high levels of positive COVID transmission in the community, particularly after COVID rules were relaxed on 15 December, have presented challenges for the disability services sector. Achieve welcomed the reintroduction of check-ins and mask wearing requirements for the community in late December but have maintained our own strict COVID safety procedures throughout the pandemic.

Decision making tailored to our community

While we are following the public health advice, we continue to carry out risk assessments to determine the best course of action for an individual client, specific scenario, or particular service.

 We have also endeavoured to make our other services available to clients and families wherever possible, but the health of clients always comes first. Achieve has, at times, had to close one or more of our day programs in Epping, Seven Hills and Casino temporarily. Our short-term accommodation in Summer Hills has also had to restrict services at times but we continued to accommodate families in urgent need during these periods.

 Likewise, throughout the pandemic, we have taken a responsible approach to outings and gatherings for the people we support. Our passion is inclusion for people with disability and our purpose to build extraordinary lives. However, COVID has meant we have relied on our well-developed program of activities in homes where we deliver services to keep clients engaged when this was the safest approach.

 COVID booster jabs

We are again working with GP Dr Jamal Rifi to arrange for COVID booster jabs for our clients in a setting most comfortable for them. Dr Rifi and his team worked with Achieve staff from July 2021 to get our clients fully vaccinated either at home or in a dedicated hub set up at our Araluen site in Epping.

 Working with the sector

Achieve was an active member of the NDIA Participant Contingent Panel during 2021 to support the sector with COVID safety advice and resources. The panel was discontinued this month. However, our Quality team is continuing their work with colleagues in the disability services sector meeting regularly to discuss staff and equipment resources and the latest COVID safety management advice. Our CEO Jo-Anne Hewitt is also working with other sector CEOs on pandemic management as a member of the Alliance20 group.

 Approach for 2022

To date, it has been gratifying that most of our COVID positive clients and staff have been spared any serious ill effects of the virus, but we take nothing for granted and are managing COVID safety and exposure management very carefully.

 Wherever there has been a COVID exposure, the families of clients impacted have been contacted by phone immediately and then kept up-to-date by phone, email, and online communication including Zoom meetings. This will continue to be standard practice during 2022.

 In addition to arranging COVD booster shots for our clients, we are also strongly encouraging our staff to get their booster jabs and providing support where we can. This includes timely information, but we also anticipate a staff booster hub will be set up soon.