Information for Employees

Scope is continuing to monitor the coronavirus (COVID-19) health alert with the safety of our customers and employees our top priority.

Actions we are taking 

  • The Incident Management Team is meeting regularly to monitor and respond to the evolving situation. The IMT is managing the response centrally.
  • We have set up a dedicated hotline for Scope and Home@Scope. This can be accessed by calling 1300 4 72673 or email covid19@scopeaust.org.au  
    • Please contact the hotline for all COVID-19 related questions.
    • This hotline is available for both employees and customers.  
  • We are supporting services with ensuring essential supplies including medication and household items are available.
  • Office-based employees have been directed to work from home, and be available to support services with other duties.

Actions for you to take

Practice good hygiene and social distancing

  • Avoid non-essential visits to other service locations and into the community.
  • Hold meetings over the phone or teleconference instead of in person.
  • If you have been exposed to COVID-19 or have any flu-like symptoms like fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, please self-isolate and seek immediate medical attention.
  • If you have these symptoms or have been diagnosed with the coronavirus (COVID-19), please inform Scope by calling our hotline on 1300 4 72673 or email covid19@scopeaust.org.au
  • If you know of a customer, family member or visitor who is likewise affected, please also let the hotline know.
  • If you need more information or support please check the Intranet or contact your manager.

Staff FAQs

Scope has revised and enacted our pandemic plan, established an Incident Management Plan (IMP) for confirmed cases of the virus (both employees and customers), set up a helpline for employees to support customers and is encouraging social distancing to slow and stop the spread of infection.

A key part of our response is making sure our services have the support, supplies and resources needed to support customers safely.  This includes infection control kits and as required, personal protective equipment (PPE).

In line with advice from Chief Medical Officer and the Department of Health, our guidelines for when to use PPE are:

  • For everyday support – all disability support workers are to wear a single use mask when supporting customers face-to-face.
  • Staff working directly with clients are to wear eye protection. Each employee will be given their own pair of eye protection, which can be reused.
  • When a customer is tested, the house moves to self-isolation.
  • The staff member assigned to the customer who was tested wears PPE because that customer has symptoms.
  • As per the Government’s direction, we are not using full PPE as part of everyday other than what would normally be used for daily support.
  • Staff are to support all other customers applying social-distancing principles.
  • If a customer is tested and the results are positive, full PPE will be worn by the employees providing support to that person. If necessary, customers who are able to wear PPE will be supported to do so.

If you need clarification, please speak to your Manager or contact the Scope COVID-19 Support Line 1300 472 673

Scope is following the same social distancing principles as advised by the Australian Government. A guide to social distancing has been provided to SIL services to assist with how day to day support may need to be managed this is also available on the Intranet.

Please communicate with all customers and residents what social distancing is and why we are enforcing it.

Please make sure that your line manager is aware of your personal situation as early as possible. This is important as each scenario will be considered individually. We will work with each person to identify what support is provided.

Yes. Employees who are experiencing cold and flu symptoms are required to stay away from work and seek medical attention. You are not required to have a medical certificate for absence from work but are required to have a medical clearance to return to work.

 

Please seek medical attention and only return to work after you receive medical attention and clearance. Testing for coronavirus (COVID-19) is up to the health provider you attend.

If you are tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), please call the Scope COVID-19 Support Line 1300 472 673 or email covid19@scopeaust.org.au immediately.

Scope takes the safety of our customers and employees very seriously. Therefore, our clear focus is asking that employees follow the above requirements; and thereby best demonstrate the Scope Approach when managing this situation.

Please contact the Scope COVID-19 Support Line on 1300 472 673.
Your local response team will put their plan into action, including supporting the home where the person may have recently worked.

Try to seek medical attention with another provider.  If you work in a SIL service, advise your medical provider that you are a support worker providing frontline services.

If you suspect you may have the coronavirus  (COVID-19) you can call the Victorian Government’s Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398 – open 24 hours, 7 days.

The person should not return to work until they receive medical clearance. Other staff members who work with them but are not displaying symptoms can continue to work.

If you live with that person or have been in close contact with them, the you should not attend work until the test result is clear.

Employee Support

You must continue working remotely if you can.

After reviewing details of Stage 4 restrictions, we have closed all support offices across the state from Thursday 6 August until Sunday 13 September.

This applies to all divisional and regional office, and the central offices at Hawthorn.

Scope strongly encourages all staff and customers to download the COVIDSafe app.

The COVIDSafe app helps Government health officials to quickly contact people who may have been exposed to COVID-19.

This reduces the chances of you passing on the virus to your family, friends and other people in the community. Once the pandemic is over you will be prompted to delete the app.

The COVIDSafe app is free and you can download it from the Apple App Store and Google Play.

 

At the moment, the Scope COVID-19 Support Line is operating following its standard hours of Monday -Friday service 9am – 4.30pm.

After hours, your call will be redirected to an external overflow service. They will take down your enquiry and get the relevant key contact to get in touch with you. If your enquiry is not urgent, this could be the following business day.

Scope advises all support workers to carry with them the Staff identification letter that explains you are an essential worker and provide direct care to the customer who is with you.

 

If you are requested to support a COVID-19 positive case, you will need to complete the COVID-19 Infection Control online training offered by the Australian Government.

If you are a therapist, it is optional if you want to complete the training as you are not expected to work with a client who is COVID-19 positive.

Here is the link to the COVID-19 Infection Control Training:

https://www.health.gov.au/resources/appsandtools/covid19infectioncontroltraining

Employees should provide a signed medical certificate from their doctor that clears them to return to work.

If they have been tested for coronavirus (COVID-19), and the test has returned negative, they should provide a certificate or the test results as evidence that they have been cleared.

If you are a support worker, make sure you inform your doctor of your essential duties in supporting customers and why it’s important for you to have a medical certificate.

Our focus is to ensure we continue services to customers while keeping everyone as safe as possible. We will ensure that all crucial supports will be accessible, including the Workforce Admin team to support with anticipated roster changes.

We strongly discourage removing any ICT equipment from Scope offices and taking it home. This could cause serious issues (for both Scope and our staff) related to liability, insurance, support, and logistics.

We are here to support you and your needs when necessary. There is a limited number of laptops available for loan. These will be provided to those who need them the most – assessed on a case-by-case basis. Priority will be given to the Customer Service and Delivery staff and key back office staff (e.g. Payroll).

Exceptions can be made in the following circumstances:

  • for medical reasons, if backed by a medical certificate, or
  • with explicit approval from the GM.

Please contact your manager if you have any questions or if you require assistance in accessing ICT equipment.

Leave for Scope Staff

If you are able to, try to work from home.

However, if you are not able to work your normal arrangements, you can apply for your accrued Annual or Long Service Leave.

If you don’t have enough Annual or Long Service leave; you can apply for paid Discretionary Leave from your General Manager – Paid Discretionary Leave Application Form

Scope will monitor any discretionary leave granted in these circumstances. It’s being provided on the basis that employees seek to make alternate care arrangements which can reduce the time away from their job.

We want to support you as much as possible but are unable to fund such absences indefinitely.

Permanent or contract staff who don’t have enough sick leave; you can apply for paid Discretionary Leave to cover the rest of your absence.

Casual staff who are unwell with coronavirus (COVID-19) can also apply for paid discretionary leave.

To help ease the burden on the health system, you will not need to get a medical certificate for your absence however you will need to have medical clearance before you return to work. Please see question above What does Scope require by way of medical clearance?

Apply for your accrued Annual or Long Service Leave.

If you don’t have enough Annual or Long Service leave; you can apply for paid Discretionary Leave.

Scope will monitor any discretionary leave granted in these circumstances. It’s being provided on the basis that employees seek to make alternate care arrangements which can reduce the time away from their job.

We want to support you as much as possible but are unable to fund such absences indefinitely.

You may be called on during this time to assist with Scope’s response, this could potentially be providing support of one kind or another to our houses e.g. deliveries. It will be based on factors such as your skillset, experiences and geography.

If a DLO closes, employees from this site may be reassigned to provide support at another DLO or SIL or help cover employees who can’t make it to work.

Travel and Self-Isolation

If your family is following self-isolation protocols and the travelling family member is showing no symptoms, you may attend work.

However, if the family member has a diagnosis of coronavirus (COVID-19), a medical clearance certificate will be required.

No you do not need to isolate from interstate travel.

According to the National guidelines, essential travel is regular daily travel that is part of normal routine. This includes travel to and from schools, workplaces, shops to purchase essential items, travel for compassionate, medical and emergency reasons.

Non-essential travel is travel that is not part of your daily life which includes interstate travel for holidays.

The Victorian borders are still open and can be crossed for essential travel.

Premier Daniel Andrews has acknowledged the complications of closing boarders will have on twin cities such as Albury and Wodonga and at this stage has no plans to close the borders.

Customer Support

Practising good hand washing and sneeze/cough hygiene and keeping your distance from others when you are sick is the best defence against most viruses.

You should:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, before and after eating, and after going to the toilet.
  • Cover your cough and sneeze, dispose of tissues, and wash your hands.
  • Reduce contact with others (stay more than 1.5 metres from people when practicable).
  • Exercise personal responsibility for social distancing measures.
  • Ask anyone who is entering a SIL home or other service locations to wash their hands on arrival and on departure.
  • Direct family members and visitors to the website for up to date information

If a SIL customer is being tested, the house will commence self isolation. You will then need to follow the SIL COVID-19 Self Isolation Guide. This guide can be found on the intranet, any questions please talk to your manager. Decisions will be made on a situational basis and be directed by the Local COVID-19 response team.

For other customers, we’ve already made changes to services to avoid face-to-face contact, so you don’t need to do anything else for the customer.

In all instances, please make sure you inform Scope by contacting Scope COVID-19 support line on 1300 472 763 or email covid19@scopeaust.org.au

If a customer is waiting results or has been diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19), Scope requests the customer remains in hospital until medical clearance is provided. We have prepared a letter of support which staff can use if they need to talk to the hospital about this. We do know this can be challenging and so once you are aware a test is taking place please inform Scope by contacting Scope COVID-19 support line on 1300 472 763 who can escalate to your local COVID- 19 response team.

In a house that is social distancing follow your normal infection control procedure and ensure good hygiene practices to prevent infection.

For a house where a customer is being tested the self-isolation guide will be followed.

Infection control aims at minimising the risk of the spread of infection by limiting the exposure of people to mico-organisms that may cause the infection whilst maintaining the rights and dignity of individuals.

Make sure you are following the Infection Control Procedure, practising good hygiene and social distancing, following the guidelines given to SIL services.

  • For SIL residents in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, there are only 4 reasons to leave home – Shopping for food or other essential items
  • To provide care giving, for compassionate reasons or to seek medical treatment
  • For exercise (outdoor exercise only, with only one other person or members of your household)
  • Work or study, if you cannot work or study from home

For other areas, we advise limiting all outings including those that help manage customer behaviours such as bus rides.

This advice is in accordance to the DHHS guidelines that specifically relate to disability services.

The guidelines state the following should be adopted:

  • ensure clients and staff stay away from other people as much as possible, all unnecessary face to face contact should be avoided
  • ensure clients remain in their homes as much as possible, all unnecessary excursions and transport should be avoided, this means cessation of:
    • activities in the community physical visits to friends and families,
    • daytime activities (including day programs) and
    • work that cannot be done in the home (without other people having to come to the home)

Customers can still go outside for exercise purposes such as taking a walk.

Scope recognises that outings are important to managing behaviours of many of our customers. We suggest that staff review PBS to see if there is anything else that can be done within the home to help with managing customer behaviours.

To access the Positive Behaviour Support service please contact; for Scope services 0418 896 702 for Home@Scope services 0437 426 007

You can also email your enquiry or request to pbs@scopeaust.org.au and we will follow-up the next business day.

Positive Behaviour

Scope’s Positive Behaviour Support is available to support Scope customers who have behaviours of concern and/or Behaviour Support plans

(https://www.scopeaust.org.au/blog/scope/putspositivescopespositivebehavioursupportteam/)

A behaviour support practitioner from Scope’s Positive Behaviour Support team will be available to staff and will provide advice and consultation by phone or video conferencing for customers who have:

  • A change or escalation of their behaviours of concern
  • Increase in existing behaviours of concern
  • Incidents where emergency restraints maybe required
  • Advice on legislation and compliance requirements
  • Development and review of a Behaviour Support Plan which have an approved restrictive practice

Staff are available Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

To access the Positive Behaviour Support service please contact; for Scope services 0418 896 702 for Home@Scope services 0437 426 007

You can also email your enquiry or request to pbs@scopeaust.org.au and we will follow-up the next business day.

Woolworths is providing a priority assistance delivery service. All services are encouraged to complete the request form to access this service. The form can be completed on the Woolworths website.

If you are not able to find suppliers through your usual sources, email covid19@scopeaust.org.au or call the Scope COVID-19 Support Line on 1300 4 72673

Changes to services

Therapy

As of 8 July:

All community-based face to face therapy in your home or other places including from Scope’s Therapy Centres will be postponed until further notice. We are offering phone meetings and online therapy sessions with clients.

Therapists can still provide non face-to-face therapy as usual; this can include developing resources or completing reports.

Essential therapy

We will continue to deliver therapy that directly relates to the safety of our customers – this includes swallowing/dysphagia assessments, pressure care issues, manual handling and some behaviour support. Please ensure you are complying with the strict hygiene guidelines. If you the person you support requires therapy directly relating to their safety please ring and discuss with our therapy team.

Day and Lifestyle Options (DLO)
All Day and Lifestyle Options (DLO) services have been temporarily closed until further notice. While our DLO services are closed, we are looking to redeploy employees to best match your skills and experiences, this could include working at a residential service (Supported Independent Living house).

This will ensure Scope customers receive the support they require and provide ongoing employment to our staff during these challenging times.

The following rules are consistent with the Department of Health and Human Service’s rules on Visiting Care Facilities.

  • Visitors (including family) are only allowed to enter a SIL home to provide caregiving, therapy, health or advocacy.
  • A resident can only have one visitor. The visitor can only visit once per day, for a maximum of one hour.
  • All visitors will need to wash their hands on entry to the home and before entering and leaving a resident’s room and will be encouraged to practise social distancing.
  •  Visits will be conducted in the resident’s room, outside, or in a specific designated area (where this is available).
  • All visitors will need to wear a mask throughout the visit.

Visitor screening

Please ensure visitors are screened prior to visiting.

People are not allowed to visit if:

  • They have a temperature of above 37.5º
  • They have returned from overseas in the last 14 days.
  • They been in contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19 in the last 14 days
  • They have fever or symptoms of coronavirus
  • They are under 16, unless they are visiting a resident who is receiving end-of-life care
  • They are unwell or waiting for a coronavirus (COVID-19) test result.

We encourage visitors to have their influenza vaccination in order to visit a service.

How to organise a visit

Visitors must contact the coordinator / house supervisor to arrange visits.

If the situation changes or a resident is suspected to have COVID 19 all visiting will be suspended.

Please follow the existing Scope Infection Prevention and Control Procedure to reduce the risk of spread of infection. Warm water with detergent is recommended.

Cleaning regularly touched surfaces such as light switches and door handles is a priority. Wheelchair handles should also be cleaned on arrival.

Talk to them about the government’s guidelines, help them understand the risks and what they can do to keep safe and well. Use the Easy English resources to assist with this conversation.

Work with your teams to find out alternative solutions to support your customer’s needs. The SIL resource kit is a good place to start.

Access to medicines, healthcare and supplies

Scope understands that pharmacies are well prepared with all necessary medications.

Non SIL customers should be advised to contact their pharmacist or local Doctor.

For SIL customers we highly recommend that house supervisors/coordinators identify customers who require on going medications and contact the dispensing pharmacist to discuss a plan for medication provision. Most pharmacists will be aware of customer needs, if necessary explain to the pharmacist that the customer falls into the at-risk category.

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Supply List is a guide only, make a judgement call for what is required for the service. If you are unsure discuss with your manager.

We are monitoring and can increase corporate credit card limit for Frontline Managers to ensure they can support teams where required. This should be discussed with your manager.

You should try to source stocks locally where possible.

However, if you are unable to source these supplies, please email covid19@scopeaust.org.au or call the Scope COVID-19 Support Line  1300 4 72673.

Scope is sourcing essential supplies to be held centrally to support stocks when unavailable.

General Coronavirus (COVID-19) questions

COVID-19 is the name of the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak begun in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.

People can catch coronavirus (COVID-19) from others who have the virus. The disease is spread the same way as the flu through small droplets from the nose and mouth. When a person with the virus sneezes, coughs or exhales the droplets may land on surfaces around them.

Coronavirus (COVID -19) can be caught by someone else if they touch those surfaces and then touch their eyes, mouth and/or nose. It could also be inhaled if you are standing close to someone with the virus when they sneeze or cough without PPE. It does not jump and is not carried by the air.

You can reduce your chances of being infected or spreading coronavirus (COVID-19) by taking some simple precautions:

  • Wash hands often with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds. Dry with paper towel or hand dryer
  • Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze or cough. Dispose of the tissue appropriately. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow. Wash your hands after sneezing or coughing.
  • Isolate yourself at home if you feel sick. If you take medication, ensure you have adequate supplies
  • Phone your GP first it you need medical attention
  • Continue healthy habits including exercise, drinking water, get plenty of sleep and consider quitting smoking
  • Don’t wear a face mask if you are well
  • Use an alcohol-based can sanitizer with over 60% alcohol
  • Get the flu shot
  • Avoid standard greetings such as shaking hands or kissing.

Symptoms can range from mild illness to severe flu. Some people will recover easily, and others may get very sick very quickly and have complications such as pneumonia.

People with coronavirus may experience:

  • fever
  • flu-like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat and fatigue
  • shortness of breath

For the latest government advice on Coronavirus (COVID-19), please refer to the following resources:

  • The Victorian Government Coronavirus hotline – 1800 675 398
  • The Australian Department of Health:

https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov#information-for-the-public

https://www.nds.org.au/resources/all-resources/coronavirus-covid-19

  • National Disability Insurance Scheme:

https://www.ndis.gov.au/understanding/ndis-and-other-government-services/ndis-and-disaster-response