Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Information for our community

Latest updates

Information correct as of 2 April 2020.

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation continues to evolve, we would like to assure you that the health and wellbeing of our residents, clients, colleagues and communities remains our absolute priority. To read about how we are responding as an organisation, please stay up to date with the latest news below.

Our response to COVID-19

Please see tailored information specific to the different groups within the UnitingSA community.

  • UnitingSA Staff

    As the situation is quickly evolving, text messaging, email and online communication will be used to relay information to employees in a timely manner.

    We encourage you to check here regularly for updated communication.

    Please follow the link below, to view the latest communication issued to UnitingSA staff:

  • UnitingSA Aged Care Families and Visitors

    In order to ensure the health and safety of our residents, we are introducing temporary measures advised by the Federal Government to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to across our aged care facilities.

    Please refer to the most recent letter to UnitingSA aged care families and visitors below for more detail.

    Scroll down to read about our revised aged care visitor restrictions. 

  • UnitingSA Clients

    In order to reduce the risk to our colleagues, other clients and families, we are introducing a new temporary screening process for all clients before on-site face-to-face visits, as well as outreach visits. This measure is a direct response to prevention guidelines issued by the Federal Government and will significantly aid our ability to ensure the health and safety of the people we work with.

    The screening process will determine whether we are able to safely provide you with face-to-face services at this time. If we cannot provide you with face-to-face services, we will work with you to determine a practical solution to address your needs.

    If you are concerned that you may have come into contact with COVID-19, or indeed have become infected, please contact your GP as normal. As always, if you are in urgent need of medical attention please call 000.

    NDIS Clients:

    In response to COVID-19, UnitingSA has temporarily suspended some supports, such as group and centre-based activities. In line with the current precautions to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 and to protect the health and wellbeing of those we support, UnitingSA is currently using technology instead of face to face visits when providing many supports.

    The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has also announced temporary, short-term changes to how NDIS supports will be provided due to the impact of COVID-19. The changes are reflected in this version of the UnitingSA NDIS Price Guide, which came into effect on 25 March 2020.

  • UnitingSA Contractors and Suppliers

    In order to reduce the risk to the UnitingSA community, we ask that all contractors and suppliers do not visit a UnitingSA site if they are experiencing any government-endorsed risk factors associated with COVID-19. We are also introducing a new temporary screening process for all contractors and suppliers to complete on arrival at site, and prior to commencing any maintenance work or deliveries etc. 

    To limit the risk of COVID-19 exposure, UnitingSA will also be putting an immediate halt on works deemed to be ‘non-essential’. 

    These measures are a direct response to advice issued by the Federal Government and will significantly aid our ability to ensure the health and safety of the people we work with.

    Please follow the link below, to view the latest communication issued to UnitingSA contractors and suppliers:

Aged care visitor restrictions

Due to the rapid spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in South Australia and the known risk to elderly people, our aged care homes will be entering into a period of stringent access controls, effective from 10am, 23 March 2020.

This means, we will be:

  • stopping all visitors to our homes, including family and friends;
  • restricting staff movement both within and between our homes; and,
  • postponing visits from non-essential external service providers.

Essential visits, such as those from general practitioners and dentists, will continue at this stage.

These access controls will be in place for an initial period of two weeks, after which time we will reassess the situation, taking into account the best available medical and public health advice.

The restrictions will be implemented in a blanket approach across our six aged care homes, however there will be some exceptional circumstances, such as end-of-life care, in which we will support families to visit.

These arrangements will need to be discussed directly with your site Director of Nursing and will only be permitted if there is no risk of COVID-19 exposure.

Our new access controls are a proactive and necessary step to help us protect the health and safety of your loved ones at an unprecedented time for our country.

They are also consistent with measures being implemented by other major providers of residential aged care both within our state and across the nation.

We are acutely aware of the impact these restrictions may have on residents and their loved ones, and we will work to support ongoing communication and contact in any way we can.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) campaign resources

The Federal Government has launched a national campaign to inform all Australians about the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The campaign aims to reduce the risk to individuals and families by enabling them to make informed decisions and to take up health recommendations.

The following communication material provides more information and tips to help you be prepared.

Supporting your wellbeing

As the COVID-19 situation and its far-reaching implications continue to unfold in our community, it’s normal for people to experience a wide range of thoughts, feelings and reactions.

If you notice a change in the way that you, or others around you, are thinking or feeling, there are things that you can do to maintain positive mental health:

  • Maintain your normal daily routine
  • Connect with family and friends and other supports in your community, using technology if needed
  • Look after yourself through exercise, regular nutritious meals and a good night’s sleep
  • Ensure you have some time out to relax and unwind and do activities that you enjoy
  • Talk with your doctor or a counsellor if needed

Free and confidential support is also available for UnitingSA staff through our Employee Assistance Program with Human Psychology on 1300 277 924, or with UnitingSA’s Minister Dr Les Underwood on 0438 927 224.

Telephone and online-based support

A number of other telephone and online-based support is also available:

  • Beyond Blue: Information and support for all Australians, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
    P: 1300 224 636
    W: www.beyondblue.org.au
  • Lifeline Australia: 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services for all Australians.
    P: 13 11 14
    W: www.lifeline.org.au
  • Regional Access Program (country areas): For people 15 years and over living or working in regional South Australia. available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
    P: 1300 032 186
    W: www.saregionalaccess.org.au
  • Lived Experience Telephone Support Service (LETSS): A peer mental health support line available from 5:00pm to 11:30pm, 365 days a year.
    P: 1800 013 755
    W: www.letss.org.au
  • eheadspace: For young people aged 12 to 25 years and their family and friends.
    P: 1800 650 890
    W: www.headspace.org.au/eheadspace
  • Mental Health Triage: For people experiencing significant mental health impacts or those who need more immediate support. available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
    P: 13 14 65

Keep informed

For the latest advice, information and resources, go to health.gov.au or call the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080, phonelines are open 24 hours a day 7 days a week. You can also visit healthdirect.gov.au or call 1800 022 222, again phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

You can reduce your chances of being infected or spreading COVID-19 by taking some simple precautions, as advised by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Nobody can do everything but everyone can do something.

UnitingSA relies on the generosity of donors to help deliver innovative programs and support for people in need across metropolitan and regional South Australia.

“What I like about working here is it’s like a family. The workers here love their job, and the reason they enjoy it is because they are accepted.”

Wayne Loughhead,
WSE Supported Employee

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