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).

❕ COVID-19 Response Statement Last Updated: 26 April 2022

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.

Our COVID-19 Safety Plan

Click on the link below to access our UPDATED COVID-19 Safety Plan registered with NSW Health. This document should be read in conjunction with our comprehensive and regularly updated COVID-19 Response Statement below.

View our COVID-19 Safety Plan

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 your ongoing support during this challenging time. Our focus and priority remains the health and wellbeing of our clients, their families, our team, and the wider community, all whilst providing outstanding speech pathology services.

We will continue to 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 provide speech pathology and occupational therapy services via face-to-face and telehealth.

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

We continue to 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. As of the 10th of January 2022, the level of risk and necessary precautions at our clinic were updated to a HIGH risk level. 

UPDATED: RETURNING TO THERAPY AFTER HAVING COVID-19 OR BEING A CLOSE CONTACT

For the safety of our clients and team, all clients and caregivers are advised to refer to and abide by the guidelines in the following visual.

 

COVID-19 Vaccination & Vaccination Status

COVID-19 vaccination is one factor among a range of practical COVID-19 control measures currently available to help mitigate the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace.  Here at HDST we strongly support the COVID-19 vaccination rollout. Every team member at HDST providing face to face services is fully vaccinated. Along with all the other control measures utilised at HDST to ensure the safety of our team and clients, COVID-19 vaccine forms a large part of our defence in keeping our team and clients safe.

We will not be requesting vaccination certification in 2022 from clients and their caregivers. We understand that our under 12 clients recently become eligible and  all our under 5 clients are ineligible for vaccination.

Mask Wearing & Social distancing

  • Our clinicians and support staff will continue to wear face masks and will request that our carers and any clients over the age of 12 continue to wear masks in our clinic. This also applies to any offsite locations we visit.
  • 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 caregivers attending sessions with their child wear a mask (which we can provide if required).
  • 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 encourage you to speak to your therapist about accessing our services via telehealth. This also means that we have much less foot traffic in our clinic.

QR Code Check In

  • Following new recommendations from the state government, staff, clients, their parents/caregivers will no longer be required check in to our clinic using the previous QR code system. We will continue to use our existing clinical software to document all persons attending sessions. Our QR system will still be available at the front desk for those still wanting to check in (this allows them to be notified if a COVID positive case was present at the same time and location)

Check in requirements at HDST

  • When clients and/or the caregivers check in at reception, we expect that you are confirming with us that:
    • You do not present with any COVID like symptoms
    • You are not COVID positive
    • You are not awaiting a COVID test result
    • You have not received a COVID positive test result in the last 10 days
    • You have not been identified as a close contact with a COVID positive case in the last 10 days
  • Upon returning to face-to-face sessions, clients will be required to complete a COVID safe waiver. This will be sent to you directly and must be completed before attending a session.

Hygiene measures

  • Hand sanitisers – We encourage you to use these and also adhere to normal hand washing and hygiene practices. These practices are illustrated in the bathrooms located on all levels of the building. 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. This is in addition to COVID government requirements. If you have any COVID like symptoms, you must get tested and await a negative result before returning to our clinic for face to face services. In the meantime, please continue to observe and use our traffic light system (on our website and clinic front desk). 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
  • Professional cleaning of the clinic completed twice a week

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 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 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.
  • 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. 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 confirmed case of COVID-19 and HDST staff attend your site and may be affected, we ask that you immediately contact HDST to alert us to the situation.
  • We are also following more stringent protocols for entry into aged care facilities at this time. Please contact us if a session is required, in which our clinicians will wear N95 masks at all times and will conduct a Rapid Antigen Test beforehand (see our risk matrix above for more information).
  • 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.
  • We have a copy of our COVID safe plan available at the top of this page. Offsite locations can request a copy at any time. 

Our clinicians continue to 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 well trained in this 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 non face-to-face 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 non face-to-face service time for you.

Group Therapy Sessions

Face-to-face group therapy sessions will be going ahead this year, but require further precautions than individual sessions. These extra requirements are:

  • For intensive holiday groups: Clinician will do a Rapid Antigen Test at the start of the group.
  • Carers will drop their children at the front door (in the hallway) to reduce traffic and congestion in the waiting room.
  • Where possible, clients will make their payment remotely (over the phone)
  • Social Distancing will be upheld wherever possible
  • Clients need to show vaccination certification prior to child attending group (for guardians bringing them to the group and for clients over 12 attending the group)
  • All clients over 12 will wear a mask (they should bring their own or be provided with one at HDST if needed)

HDST continues to offer online group therapy sessions for selected client groups. Please contact us on 9054 1996 if you would like more information on our online group therapy services.

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

HDST Traffic Light System

Our Clinic Safe Environment Policy

NSW Health COVID-19 Health Alert Updates

World Health Organisation COVID-19 Information