COVID-19 Update: The Latest Frequently Asked Questions

As always, and now more than ever, our clients’ wellbeing and safety are at the very centre of our practice.

With the COVID-19 situation changing daily, we understand that many of our clients and their families have questions about the services they receive and how they will be impacted.

On this page, you will find answers to the frequent questions we are being asked. This page will be updated regularly, so we encourage you to keep checking in for the latest updates.

If you have any concerns or would like to discuss your options in terms of accessing additional remote services, please call us on 1300 888 378, email ask@cerebralpalsy.org.au, or contact your Client Support Coordinator (CSC).

COVID-19 and CPA Services Frequently Asked Questions

Please find below common questions being asked by CPA clients. These answers are based on the situation as at Friday 29 May 2020.

Are CPA sites and community centres open?

As a disability service provider, we support a lot of people who are more vulnerable to respiratory related illnesses, so we need to consider extra measures to ensure everyone remains safe and well during this time.

We will be working with all of our community centres and sites throughout June to get them ready to start offering some site based services.

Services that have remained open and will continue to remain open include our group homes and emergency respite, emergency dental and seating services.

While our doors will be closed for a short while longer, we’re not. All CPA staff are continuing to work to support our clients and their families via CPA Telepractice.

What is CPA Telepractice?

We deliver CPA Telepractice services by linking clinicians and clients via a web based digital video platform. You can connect for appointments from a range of locations including school, work and home.

CPA Telepractice enables you to access services wherever you can connect with a digital device, including mobile phones, tablets and laptops.

You can also invite other family members, service providers, and specialists to join you from their locations, all in the one appointment.

Learn more here.

What changes will I notice when doors are reopened?

When our sites reopen, you’ll notice some changes including:

  • Screening and temperature checking for all staff and visitors on site at entry
  • New ‘sign in’ procedures for all staff and visitors
  • Some changes to meetings rooms and the layout of furniture to ensure everyone can safely follow the physical distancing requirements
  • Extra personal hygiene and cleaning responsibilities for all staff and visitors to follow
  • Strict adherence to a maximum number of people allowed to be on the site at any one time – this will be on display at the front door of every site
  • Single points of entry for staff and visitors for every site

Will I still be able to access CPA Telepractice once all sites and community centres reopen?

Yes, many families have reported back how much they have come to appreciate the option of Telepractice, citing significant time and cost savings due to reduced travel times, and greater flexibility to manage sessions more easily within their broader family schedules. For these clients and families, Telepractice will still be an option.

What CPA services are currently running?

To ensure your services and supports continue to be available, we have developed a range of evidence-based programs in therapy, health & wellbeing, coaching and inclusion support that can be accessed remotely via CPA Telepractice. Please check in here regularly to see what is available, and of course keep in touch with your practitioner, therapist, program manager or Client Engagement Consultant to discuss your options.

In-person CPA Services currently operating are:

  • Emergency Dental Clinic
  • Essential face to face seating services
  • Supported Accommodation and emergency respite

Additional services currently available via CPA Telepractice are:

  • Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy
  • Youth Coaching
  • Health & Wellbeing, Exercise Physiology and Sports Coaching

What services have been temporarily postponed?

The safety and wellbeing of CPA clients is at the centre of our practice. In line with direction from the Australian Government, CPA temporarily transitioned out of non-essential in-person services. Now that the risk of infection has reduced, we will be back in touch with you to reschedule your service. In the meantime, please consider our CPA Telepractice services.

The following programs have been postponed:

  • Youth camps
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Swim programs including Autism Swim
  • Sports camps (includes Multi Sport School Holiday intensive)
  • All in-person therapy individual and group services including:
    • Occupational Therapy,
    • Physiotherapy,
    • Speech Therapy, and
    • Positive Behaviour Support services delivered directly at a CPA centre, in a client’s home or at school or the community.
  • Day programs delivered in centre
  • Youth group programs and in person youth coaching
  • All Gym programs and individual use
  • Individualised Supports for community access (non-essential services)
  • Term-based sports programs
  • Conductive Education individual and group sessions

Is respite available?

Respite is available for clients who have limited options, and for emergency requirements. Please check with CPA directly to discuss.

Is the CPA Dental Clinic running as normal?

The CPA Dental Clinic will be reducing the number of clinics and prioritising acute and emergency appointments only.

What about programs in the July School holidays?

We look forward to delivering all July school holiday programs online. For more information please contact us on 1300 888 378 or ask@cerebralpalsy.org.au.

Are CPA gyms and pools open?

In line with advice from the Australian Government, the gyms at Allambie Heights, Prairiewood, Ryde, Canberra, Penshurst and Kingswood will be closed from midday Monday 23rd March until further notice.

Will CPA staff be wearing face masks around clients?

No. On the advice of the Australian Government Department of Health, face masks are only to be used by people who are suspected of having COVID-19, or by medical practitioners who are treating people suspected of having COVID-19.

Are CPA staff working remotely?

Yes, we have a well-established technology setup that allows all staff to be available and working from home. You can contact us through the normal 1300 888 378 number, SMS or ask@cerebralpalsy.org.au email during business hours. If you have any concerns, we can escalate your call to the relevant therapist, coach or program manager.

Will CPA still be able to provide me with a report for my upcoming NDIS plan meeting?

CPA can still provide all clients with service review documents and recommendations for ongoing funding for services in the future.

Will I be charged if I have to cancel an appointment at short notice?

CPA’s current cancellation and no-show guidelines remain in place. If you cancel with insufficient notice (i.e. cancel after 3pm the day before your scheduled service) or do not show for your appointment, CPA has the right to charge you a cancellation fee of up to 90% of the value of planned supports that would have been delivered.

However, if you need to change or cancel an appointment after this time due to concerns around COVID-19, please contact us to discuss.

To reschedule or cancel an appointment, please notify your service directly via your usual site contact phone number or email.

Has CPA implemented the temporary COVID-19 price changes announced by the NDIS?

Yes, the NDIS temporary price increase of 10% for critical supports came into effect at CPA as of Wednesday 8th April. These pricing changes are in place temporarily for six months.

Pricing changes have been applied to:

  • Existing service agreements, and any new agreements generated during this six month period.
  • Critical supports:
    • Assistance with Daily Life (excluding Supported Independent Living, SIL)
    • Assistance with Social and Community Participation
    • Improved Health and Well-Being (excluding personal training)
    • Improved Daily Living Skills

The NDIS has also changed the definition of short notice cancellations. At CPA, we won’t be changing our cancellation policy. However if you do need to change or cancel and appointment, we ask that you provide as much notice as possible in order to allow us to manage our virtual workforce.

For more information, please see a letter from our COO on our News page.

What are CPA doing to keep its Group Home residents safe at this time?

  • We have established a 24/7 hotline for Managers to access direct contact with one of our Senior Clinical Nurse Consultants. Should staff become concerned about the health of a client at any time, they can use this hotline and receive immediate support and assistance
  • All House Managers and Lifestyle Managers continue to follow our strict standard infection control and environmental cleaning procedures. We have held briefing sessions with all our managers to ensure they have the information they need to support clients and staff at this time
  • In preparation for an expected increase in workforce absences over this period, and as we move in to the flu season, all CPA Senior Managers are meeting daily to ensure business continuity and workforce management plans are in place for critical services such as our group homes
  • We are working closely with our purchasing teams to ensure all managers have ample access to essential supplies, including personal protective equipment, pantry and cleaning supplies.
  • We have provided all staff with Infection Prevention refresher training.
  • Our CEO, Rob White, is in regular contact with the Australian Government to get the most up to date advice for disability service providers. We are then implementing this advice accordingly.
  • We are restricting all non-essential visitors to our Group homes, and have implemented additional screening requirements for all other visitors before they are permitted to enter
  • Based on the government’s advice, we are limiting large group gatherings of residents in the community. However, if a client is taken into the community, staff have been instructed to practice social distancing – which means avoiding crowds and small gatherings in enclosed spaces, and keep a distance of 1.5 metres between the client and others when out in public. This also means large shopping centres, cinemas, busy restaurants or public places.
  • Our staff have been asked to consult with clients, families and House Managers before carrying out any planned outings. We have also asked our staff to find ways to support activity in the home if required.
  • Any staff travelling with clients in a car or van, have been instructed to regularly wipe down high touch point areas including steering wheels, seat belts, and door handles with hot water and detergent, or anti-bacterial wipes.

I’m a person living with a disability. Where can I go to access information and support?

The Department of Social Services has set up a Disability Information Helpline that provides information and referrals for people with disability who need help because of coronavirus (COVID-19). The Helpline can also help families, carers and support workers.

Learn more by clicking here, or contact the Helpline by phone on 1800 643 787.