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COVID-19 Updates

Information about coronavirus and how this may affect our services

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Last Updated 28/05/2020 at 10:15

A declining number of COVID-19 cases has prompted a Government announcement of a staggered process to re-open the economy. This involves a gradual increase in the number of people allowed at gatherings and eventually removing travel borders and lifting restrictions.

However, it may be a few weeks before VisAbility resumes therapy services face-to-face. 

We have an ongoing commitment to provide online therapy services until restrictions end. Keeping clients safe and healthy is our top priority.

The Department of Health has published a web page called Coronavirus advice for people with a disability which details important information. This page is regularly updated. 

All VisAbility offices in Western Australia and Tasmania currently remain closed and all our team members and staff are working remotely. 

We are providing continuity of care and are offering a range of online therapy services. We are are also providing group sessions through the Community Activity Centre and we’re pleased to report that we’ve had an uptake of around 90%.

Summary of Key Information

  • Face-to-face appointments stopped on the 25th March 2020
  • VisAbility services are being offered via flexible delivery modes
  • Therapy services are being  delivered online via phone, Skype, Zoom or Facetime
  • Group programs have successfully been scheduled  via video link-up or phone
  • We are providing ongoing support with all staff working remotely.
  • Our main switchboard remains open and our numbers 1800 847 466 in WA or 1800 484 333 in Tasmania
  •  Updates will be provided when the situation changes.  

VisAbility Therapy Services

VisAbility continues to provide online therapy services rather than face-to-face appointments. Therapy services available include:

  • Occupational Therapy
  • Physiotherapy
  • Speech Pathology
  • Orientation and Mobility
  • Psychology and Social Work
  • Assistive Technology support
  • Dietetics
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Group Therapy.

Online therapy services are being delivered by phone, Skype, Zoom or Facetime.  

Privacy is of the utmost importance and we have implemented a number of measures to protect our clients. These include locked meetings, waiting room features and password protection for platforms which don’t have end-to-end encryption.

You can find out more by visiting Online Therapy FAQs and Online Guidelines.

There is no need for expensive equipment or technology to use online therapy – all you need is a smart phone.

There are many benefits of online therapy services including:

  • More frequent contact with your therapist
  • Increased flexibility with scheduling appointments
  • Reduced travel and travel costs for clients
  • Reduced risks to yourself and your family in leaving your home
  • For parents, increased family engagement during sessions, less disruption to the family routine, and increased confidence and empowerment for parents following the sessions.

Our staff are experienced in online therapy services and have been providing these to our regional clients for many years.

In 2015 we pioneered an innovative Remote Orientation and Mobility program using online therapy and in 2018 VisAbility was recognised with a HESTA Community Services sector award for this program.

Your therapist is remaining in regular contact with you so you can receive ongoing care and support.  On your request, we can liaise with your carer or relative to arrange appointments.

Online therapy service appointments are being scheduled at a time that suits you. Please give us plenty of notice if you want to cancel an appointment. 

Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology appointments are being delivered via phone, Skype or Zoom as preferred by clients. 

Exercise Clinic 

Exercise Therapy is available even though clients will not have access to the Exercise Clinic itself.

Clients are receiving  accessible home exercise programs devised by our Exercise Physiologist specifically for their individual goals. This will be available via email or post and can be delivered in Braille format if desired.

Appointments will not be cancelled unless requested by clients. Clients will be contacted weekly for their scheduled appointments.

As part of our commitment to your health and overall well-being, we will also incorporate a questionnaire into our Exercise Clinic so we can check in your mental health as well. For more information, contact Kane.Perris@visability.com.au

Group Programs

Group programs are going ahead via a video link-up or phone. They include:

  • Cooking
  • Pottery
  • Mosaics
  • Men’s interest group
  • Woodwork
  • Playgroup.

We have plenty of other online social activities which are free. ‘R U OK’ check-in sessions are held every Friday early afternoon.

All clients who participate in Community Activity Centre (CAC) activities will be receiving a regular updated timetable for these interactive group sessions. For more information contact Felicity.Austin@visability.com.au

Library Service

Clients can access and order audio books online. Library Services are not offering a postal service due to potential contamination issues. We have thousands of online books to choose from to keep you entertained.  Our staff are available to guide you on how to download your books online. Contact them on library@visability.com.au

Access Services

Accessibility services and consulting continues to operate remotely.

Our team is available to provide a range of alternative materials to standard print such as Braille, audio, tactile graphics, etext or large print. For more information email access@visability.com.au

Children and Youth Services

Our Easter camps, which we provide in conjunction with Cahoots, will no longer be going ahead. Our Youth Support Officer Ryan Honschooten is still available to speak to any children or young people who need extra support over the coming weeks. His email is Ryan.Honschooten@visability.com.au

Resource Shop

The Resource Shop is currently closed. The online shop is still open for a few essential items, white canes and tips. You can email LowVisionAids@visability.com.au with any enquiries.

The Perron Centre

Team members from the Perron Centre will be working from home but we are still able to answer all of your queries. You can still contact us on the main switchboard numbers for Western Australia and Tasmania.

Outside of appointments you can communicate with our Client Experience team Service Co-ordinators on CETenquiries@visability.com.au

We appreciate your continued patience and understanding. 

All our therapists will strictly comply with procedures recommended by the Department of Health.

What you can do

We continue to encourage our clients to stay safe and that includes:

  • Being mindful of social distancing, ideally keeping 1.5 metres apart from anyone else
  • Washing your hands with soap and water (preferable) or sanitiser where not available
  • Contacting your GP if you feel you are developing any symptoms which may be COVID-19 related, and of course letting us know should this arise
  • Not attending large social gatherings
  • Regularly spraying down hard surfaces and tops
  • Minimising physical contact with the elderly and people at high risk, especially people with suppressed immune systems or ongoing health conditions.

How we will keep you informed

We will continue to provide updates on our service provision as we move forward, and this information will be published on our website as well as through social media, text or email. 

Remember to stay in contact with your friends, family and loved ones. If you ever need extra support, reach out to us.

We are always happy to refer you onto one of our Social Workers or Psychologists if you feel you need extra support contact our Client Experience Team Service Co-ordinators on CETenquiries@visability.com.au

As always, the VisAbility team will be making extra efforts to stay in contact through our social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, so please stay connected.

Further information on COVID-19

The Australian Government’s Department of Health website provides up-to-date information about COVID-19. The National Disability Insurance Agency is also providing information which may be of assistance.

If you have questions regarding continued service provision or the above information, please contact us.

COVID-19 Accessible Documents

Would you like to learn and know more about COVID-19? Please download our accessible PDF resources below. If you require the information below in any other alternative formats (audio, braille, accessible word, epub), please email access@visability.com.au

  1. What are the updates to services? Download the VisAbility Client Notice to find out more:
  2. How can productivity be increased during COVID-19? Download the free Occupational Therapist Guide to learn more.
  3. What are the management and operational plan for people with Disability? Download the Management and Operational Plan for People with Disability document to find out more.
  4. Would you like to know what the frequently asked question on COVID-19 received by the Australian Government Department of Health is? Download the free Department of Health – Frequently Asked Questions to find out.
  5. How can COVID-19 symptoms be identified? Download WHO’s COVID-19 – Identifying the symptoms document to learn more.
  6. What is the right method to wash and dry your hands? Download the Wash and dry hands guide from the Department of Health to learn more.
  7. Would you like to know how medicines can be prescribed when you are confined to your home during COVID-19? Download Department of Health’s Prescriptions via Telehealth Guide to find out.
  8. How can you keep your mind active during COVID-19’s self-isolation period? Download Think Mental Health WA’s resources below to learn more:
  9. How can you help your children cope with stress during COVID-19? Download Think Mental WA’s Help your child cope with stress to find out.
  10. What are the self-isolation criteria in Western Australia during COVID-19? Download the resources below to find out:
  11. What can you do if you feel overwhelmed by COVID-19 and need to talk to someone for additional support? Download the Support services document to find out.
  12. How can you get support for Family and Domestic Violence during COVID-19? Download the FDV Support During Coronavirus to find out.
  13. How do you set up a workstation at home during COVID-19? Download the following Workstation Setup Guide during COVID-19 document to find out more. 
  14. How do you cope with stress during COVID-19? Download the following Coping with Stress during COVID-19 document to find out. 
  15. How is Western Australia looking into carefully easing COVID-19 restrictions and bring Western Australians back to work safely and beginning the process of restarting the State’s economy?  Download the resources below to find out.