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 are supporting services with ensuring essential supplies including medication and household items are available.
  • Office-based employees 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.
Restrictions scheduled to ease 17 June 2021

The Victorian Government has announced plans to ease restrictions from 11:59pm tonight, Thursday 17 June 2021. For more information about these restrictions, visit www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au

Face to face services resume

In response to these eased restrictions, we’re pleased to resume our face to face services in metropolitan Melbourne. We’re continuing to do this in a COVID-safe way, in line with government guidelines.

Supported Independent Living – Visitor restrictions

Visitor restrictions remain in place across Victoria. Visits are only permitted to SIL homes for caregiving, compassionate reasons, or service provision.

Please continue to support families and visitors to organise their visits so you can maintain physical distancing.

Metropolitan offices

In line with government advice, we’ve decided to maintain the current arrangements.

Please continue to work from home wherever possible. If you need to attend an office, please seek permission from your Executive.

Please continue to wear masks indoors and adhere to the physical distancing and room capacity rules.

We will continue to keep you updated.

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 current advice from the Victorian Government, our guidelines for when to use PPE are:

  • All disability support workers are to wear a single use mask at all times, unless eating or drinking.
  • Staff working directly with clients are to wear eye protection (face shields/goggles). 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.
  • 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.

 

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. You should also get a COVID test and follow the government’s directions to isolate.

We encourage you to inform your Manager if you are getting a test.

 

 

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.

Our local response team will put their plan into action, including supporting the home where the person may have recently worked.

If you’ve been tested positive please inform your Manager so we can support you.

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

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.

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 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.

Customer Support

Over the last year, we’ve all learnt the ways to stay COVID safe:

  • Wearing masks indoors and outdoors line with current government advice (unless it’s your home)
  • Staying home in line with government advice
  • Practicing social distancing
  • 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).
  • Direct family members and visitors to the website for up to date information

Scope is also encouraging everyone to access the COVID-19 vaccine.

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 your Manager.

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 your Manager.

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 5 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)
  • For authorised work
  • To get vaccinated

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

This advice is in accordance with Victorian Government guidelines for disability services.

 

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.

Changes to services

As of 11.59pm 27 May 2021:

Scope is continuing to monitor the coronavirus (COVID-19) health alert with the safety of our customers and employees our top priority. To this end, we are making some temporary changes to the way services are delivered:

Therapy – Reducing face to face

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.

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. Please speak to your Manager if you have any questions about this.

Short Term Accommodation & Assistance (STAA)

Short term accommodation appointments have been cancelled, unless deemed essential and we’re working directly with families to assess their needs.

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.

As of 11.59 pm 27 May 2021:

  • No visitors are permitted unless for the essential purposes of providing 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. All visitors must check in and complete the attestation form.

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.

General Coronavirus (COVID-19) questions

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

Easing of Restrictions in Victoria

We’re reopening all face to face services in metropolitan areas in a COVID-safe way. This includes therapy and DLO.

STAA are also taking bookings.

If you have any questions, please speak to your Manager.

Visitor restrictions to SIL homes are still in place – there can only be visits for the purposes of caregiving, compassionate reasons, or service provision.

You must continue to wear masks indoors.

For anyone supporting a customer, you must wear your mask and eye protection at all times.

 

For regional offices, workplace densities are increased (75 per cent or up to 30 people if the total workplace is 40 or less). However, if you can work from home, continue to do so.

For metropolitan offices, even though densities have also increased, please continue to work from home. If you need to attend a Scope office, you will need permission from your Executive.

We ask that all staff who need to take a COVID-19 test to please notify their manager.

You will be asked to complete a form by your manager and advise of the test outcome.

Your manager will discuss special leave arrangements with you.

It is voluntary but you can inform P&C by emailing PandCCovid@scopeaust.org.au.

For direct support staff, you can access an additional 2 hours of paid time if you have been vaccinated. Please email your proof of vaccination to PandCCovid@scopeaust.org.au.

We are working with Aspen to confirm dates and will staff know as soon as possible.