COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. Individuals infected with the virus typically present with a fever, tiredness, and dry cough, and may also experience aches and pains, nasal congestion, a runny nose, sore throat or diarrhoea (WHO, 2020).

COVIDSafe Mobile Application

The COVIDSafe app has been recently developed by the Australian Government to help locate and alert close contacts of COVID-19 cases. Hills District Speech Therapy supports this initiative and recommends the use of the CovidSafeApp by our clients to help protect themselves, their family, friends, and wider community from potential exposure to the virus. You can learn more about this app by clicking the icon, and also view the privacy policy by clicking here.

Information on COVID-19 in an Easy English format

Access Easy English has developed the following resources on COVID-19 for individuals with limited functional literacy, including those with hearing impairments, acquired and lifelong disabilities, english as a second language (ESL) speakers and the elderly. The information is presented using everyday words, simple sentences, helpful images and filtered to contain the key messages that need to be accessed and understood.

Information on COVID-19 for People with Aphasia

Tactus Therapy has made available some really helpful information and resources for individuals living with aphasia. Check out the links below:

Information on COVID-19 in Key Word Sign

Key Word Sign Australia has made available key word sign posters for individuals interacting with and/or providing services to persons who use key word sign. Check out the links below:

What is Hills District Speech Therapy’s response to COVID-19?

Dear Clients,

Thank you for following our procedures and assisting us in keeping one another safe and healthy. Our focus and priority has always been to provide outstanding speech pathology intervention, while ensuring your and our team’s health and safety. This letter is to update you with changes to our procedures and services to remain inline with current guidelines. As this document is being updated regularly, we will alert our clients in the clinic and across our social media platforms and also mark all new information and revisions as NEW or UPDATED.

HDST continues to be informed by the Australian Government COVID-19 guidelines , and has implemented safeguards that meet and exceed these official guidelines  to minimise the potential impact.

Our clinic continues to remain OPEN for face to face services and group sessions.

This is in line with current information, recommendations and encouragement from Speech Pathology Australia and the Federal Health Minister.

For this to occur we ask that our clients, their caregivers and our staff strictly follow our current guidelines and procedures:

COVID-19 Risk Matrix

This risk matrix was developed using the NSW Health Infection Prevention and Control Response and Escalation Framework. The information below is used by our team, and provided to our clients and their families to guide decisions around managing risks associated with COVID-19 in a range of care settings. Across all settings and with all clients, standard precautions have been put in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing our our clients, their families and our staff. These include, however are not limited to, regular sanitising of common surfaces, frequent hand washing, and staff staying at home when they are unwell.

Hygiene measures

  • Updated: Wall mounted hand sanitisers – We encourage you to use these and also adhere to normal hand washing and hygiene practices. These practices are illustrated in all instructional posters near each hand sanitiser pump. Clients and clinicians will sanitise their hands on entry to their session and when leaving their session.
  • Illness – HDST uses the Traffic Light System to manage illness and making decisions regarding clients and team members coming into the clinic. Please observe and use this checklist (on our website and clinic front desk) to assist in your decision making process. Please adhere to this advise for all family members and support workers entering the clinic.
  • Our team members follow our Safe Environment Policy, which ensures that high levels of personal hygiene are maintained. This policy can be viewed on our website: https://hdspeechtherapy.com.au/clinic-safe-environment-policy/

Further measures to  minimise the potential impact at HDST include:

  • Disinfecting and wiping down of common surfaces and resources between client interactions
  • Daily disinfecting of common clinic surfaces including light switches and door handles

Prior Travel

Anyone who has travelled overseas, or has come into direct contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the previous 14 days must isolate themselves.  Clients must follow this advice to ensure their own and others’ safety. Please call us on 9899 7853 if you are in this position so that we can organise tele health sessions for you.

Updated: Social distancing

  • We will keep a distance of 1.5 metres. Where this is not possible, clinicians will wear a hospital grade mask. 
  • We also request that parents attending sessions with their child wear a masks (which we can provide) if you are unable to maintain a distance of 1.5 metres with your clinician OR if you request.
  • Please enter via the closest door to your clinic room (side 303 or 302).
  • The waiting room chairs will be reduced to encourage social distancing (1.5 metres). We highly recommend, where possible, that you do not use the waiting room, but instead wait outside of the clinic or in your car until your session commences or your child’s session ends. Clinicians will do their utmost to ensure that sessions are running on time.
  • We are currently only able to accommodate 3 people per room per session (clinician and client + carer). If other family members are required to come to sessions, please wait with them outside.
  • For clients who are not able to come into the clinic for their session we are setting up alternative telehealth options and will continue to provide indirect services where appropriate. This also means that we have much less foot traffic in our clinic.

Group sessions

  • Group sessions will now be held in our larger, open training room (side 302).
  • This will accommodate the 1.5 metres per person social distancing or an allowance of more than 4 metres square per person (recommended guidelines)
  • As per our aforementioned hygiene measures, all surfaces will be wiped down pre and post session and clinician and clients will sanitise their hands on entry to the session, when leaving their session and during the session where required.

Our clinicians continue to provide external/ home visits and sessions

For this to occur we ask that you strictly follow our current guidelines and procedures:

  • Please call the office and let your clinician know if you or anyone in your family has been unwell prior to the session or been in contact with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19.
  • Our clinicians will never enter your home or offsite location if they have been unwell or been in contact with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19.
  • Our clinicians will sanitise their hands before and after the session and will request that their client does also.
  • HDST requests our offsite locations take their own responsible measures to respond to COVID-19, in accordance with official Australian Government COVID-19 guidelines.
  • If HDST staff at off-site locations are concerned these locations are not taking reasonably  steps to proactively prevent the spread of COVID-19 so far as it is able, HDST has directed our staff to speak with their Team Leader immediately.
  • UPDATED: Our clinicians also reserve the right to request that they don’t see a client at offsite locations if they feel they are presenting as unwell based on our traffic light system. We may also cease the provision of offsite services in areas that are identified as ‘COVID hotspots’ as per our escalation risk assessment framework. In such cases the clinician may offer sessions via telehealth, otherwise the time will be utilised for indirect services including  further resource development for the client’s ongoing sessions.
  • If you are an organisation with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 and HDST staff attend your site and may be affected, we ask that you immediately contact your HDST contact to alert us to the situation.
  • NEW: We are also minimising entry to aged care facilities at this time. Please contact us if a session is urgently required, in which our clinicians will wear masks at all times (see our risk matrix above for more information).
  • NEW: To minimise risk of exposure to and or transmission of COVID-19, clinicians will travel to and from offsite locations in their own vehicles. Clinicians will be required to travel separately.

Our clinicians offer telehealth sessions

This is a successful and evidence based approach to therapy and means you can stay in the comfort and safety of your own home.  Your clinician will discuss this with you and help set you up, if they haven’t already done so.

Our clinicians are continuing to up-skill in this particular area of service delivery and training modules have been created and utilised by our team. As always, our focus is bringing you outstanding quality and service in whatever we do!

If you would like more information on this mode of service delivery visit our Online Therapy Services page on our website.

Our clinicians provide indirect services

When required, your clinician will spend the time they usually would in face to face sessions, working on developing resources, reviewing goals, researching  or even providing advice to you via the phone.

Your clinician will provide you with a detailed outline of what areas they will be working on during their indirect service time for you.

NEW: Returning to face-to-face sessions

In the interest of everyone’s health and safety we will be requesting that those returning to face to face sessions sign a document detailing that they are well and have not been in contact with any known or suspected cases of COVID. Clients will also commit to keeping us updated if their health changes or if they are potentially exposed to the virus. Please contact your therapist directly or call 9899 7853 if you wish to return to face-to-face sessions.

The COVID-19 is an evolving situation. If you have specific questions please discuss with management.  We will also alert you if any changes occur to our response.

Thank you,
Hills District Speech Therapy Management Team

COVID-19 Response Last Updated: 28 July 2020

HDST Traffic Light System

Our Clinic Safe Environment Policy

NSW Health COVID-19 Health Alert Updates

World Health Organisation COVID-19 Information