Challenge Community Services is continually assessing the potential impacts of COVID-19 on our services with the health and safety of our clients, carers, families, and staff foremost in our minds.
We have answered many of your queries and concerns in the below frequently asked questions and answers. This information will be updated regularly as the situation evolves.
Update: 17 June 2020
When will Day Programs reopen?
We are pleased to announce that the Challenge COVIDSafe plan has now been implemented and we were able to welcome our clients back to their Day Programs from Monday 1 June, 2020.
Each Day Program is being assessed on a case-by-case basis determined by the size of the site and number of clients.
How will Challenge keep me safe at my Day Program?
Day Programs will be a little different to what we are used to as we continue to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.
The Challenge COVIDSafe plan includes additional measures to keep our clients and staff members safe and healthy.
This plan includes:
- Being able to maintain a 1.5-metre physical distance
- Wearing PPE when physical support such as personal care is required
- Ensuring we have only one person present for every 4 square metres
- Reducing the number of clients transported at one time
- Screening clients via phone prior to providing drop-in support or community access
- Continuing excellent hand and respiratory hygiene
- Checking temperatures prior to entering a site, after lunch and before leaving a site
- Ensuring clients and staff stay home when unwell
Following strict protocol if a client or staff member is confirmed with COVID-19.
How will Challenge keep me safe in Supported Independent Living?
Our Supported Independent Living services are continuing as normal with the following additional health precautions:
- Strict hygiene procedures are in place
- All non-essential visitors and community outings have been restricted
- Additional funding has been provided to each house to ensure clients have activities to do inside the home
- Strict protocols, in line with Department of Health directives, are in place if a client contracts COVID-19
- Levels of food and household items are monitored to ensure each home has adequate amounts to last 14 days if someone needs to self-isolate.
What should I do if I am feeling anxious or stressed?
Challenge recognises that many of our clients and families are feeling anxious, stressed or concerned during this uncertain time.
If you need help seeking mental health support during COVID-19, please speak with your support coordinator or supervisor of the service you receive.
Challenge Therapeutic Services are providing consultations via both face-to-face appointments or by Telehealth (phone or video). For more information, please call the friendly team on 1800 795 411.
Where can clients and families seek more information?
We have established this COVID-19 information hub on our website dedicated to information about our steps to protect our customers, changes to our services and frequently asked questions.
If you have further questions that are not addressed on our website, please contact the supervisor of the service you receive.
Published: 27 March 2020
What is Challenge Community Services’ response to the COVID-19 situation?
Our Executive Leadership Team is meeting daily to closely monitor advice from Australian federal and state health authorities and will take appropriate actions based on this advice. We are also in close communication with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).
In line with evolving health guidelines, we have modified our work practices to help protect our staff and clients. Current organisation-wide measures include:
- Applying increased hygiene standards for all clients, carers, staff and visitors to Challenge sites, with extra precautions for Supported Independent Living homes
- Limiting non-essential face-to-face contact in our workplaces, with some staff members working from home
- Ensuring staff who have returned from overseas or have been in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case strictly adhere to self-isolation practices
- Conducting regular general health checks and supporting clients to seek medical assistance if necessary.
How is the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) supporting providers?
We will be contacting our clients individually to discuss the following changes to NDIS price limits. The NDIA will temporarily increase price limits by 10 per cent for the following critical supports, effective Wednesday 25 March 2020:
- Assistance with daily life (not including Supported Independent Living)
- Assistance with social and community participation
- Support for improved health and wellbeing (not including personal training)
- Support for improved daily living skills.
These changes will be in place for six months. The NDIA will review the changes in three months to assess whether it is appropriate to continue with the changes.
How is the NDIS supporting participants?
If a participant has a scheduled plan review, the NDIA will contact them by phone or email to complete their review. This is an opportunity for participants to discuss putting a new plan in place for up to 24 months.
The NDIA will also be making changes to NDIS systems to make sure participants have the funding they need during the COVID-19 crisis.
To ensure participant plans don’t end on the day a plan is due to expire, the plan will be extended by 365 days. Previously the automatic plan extensions were for 28 days. NDIS participants do not need to take any action – the 365-day extension will be automatic.
Will there be any more changes to Challenge services?
Advice from Australian federal and state health authorities may result in changes to our services.
Our Executive Leadership Team will continue to monitor, and follow government advice. We will communicate any further changes to our clients and staff as soon as possible.
I’m a staff member with more questions. Who can I talk to?
Please speak to the supervisor or manager of your service.
To download the FAQs in an easy to read format please see this linked document.