Q-Insights: Supporting providers while they support others
As Queenslanders in 11 different Local Government Areas across the South-East have just come out of lock down, the Cairns and Yarrabah Local Government Areas (LGAs) have been placed into a snap 3 day lockdown.
The increasing rise of the Delta variant has intensified the pressure on disability service providers to keep participants, and their workforce, safe and to remain vigilant in an unpredictable environment.
Our Queensland team asked 'what more can we be doing to support providers while they support others?'
In response, this week we will increase the information coming out to you by trialling a weekly COVID focused information session. Scheduled for every Tuesday morning, these short and sharp online sessions will give providers a chance to meet, access the latest information, hear from key sources, and have a space to share concerns with NDS and other providers.
It is also worth considering that while we may not know exactly what the future may look like, we can at least actively learn from what has gone before.
The experience of Victorian providers contains lessons for providers in this State and has been captured in reports like the University of Melbourne’s Managing COVID-19 outbreaks in disability residential settings: Lessons from Victoria's second wave of COVID-19.
Experience tells us to prepare for communication challenges, particularly in scenarios with casual and agency staff. Operational considerations like the additional resources needed to provide information and training as well as Personal Protective Equipment were reported, along with impacts experienced by residents, staff and families.
The impact on frontline staff has also been researched during last year’s Victorian surge, with both an initial report and six month follow up findings. The report Disability Support Workers: The Forgotten Workforce in COVID-19 describes the first hand experiences gathered in a national on-line survey of disability support workers conducted between May and June 2020 and again in October 2020.
While it would be hoped that some of the previous barriers have been addressed as our nation has developed its response, past experience can still be used to test whether each of us as organisations has the best mitigation ready and in place.
We will continue to touch base with NDS teams in Victoria and New South Wales to ensure that we too have the best strategies and information in place to support providers to the best of our ability in the coming months.
While we hope to see as many of you as possible choosing to check in with us each Tuesday, we also want to stress, you do not need to wait for any particular day of the week to reach out. Our role is to support the disability service sector and we always welcome your contact.
For any enquiries, please contact Ian Montague, State Manager Qld, 0438 082 971, submit enquiry/feedback