COVID-19 Update: News, Support & Resources
The following information was sent out to all members on Monday 20 July, 2020 and relevant at the time of publication.
Our lives (both professionally and personally) continue to be impacted by COVID-19, and while parts of Australia have almost returned to normal, others are still navigating the uncertainty ahead on a daily basis. Know that OTA will continue to advocate on your behalf, and we will continue to provide you with the latest information and resources to support your practise and development.
COVID-19 Situation Update
The return to Stage 3 restrictions in Melbourne and rising COVID-19 cases in other regions across Australia are understandably causing unease and concern. We are also aware of concerns about moving to Stage 4 restrictions in Victoria. While there is no current definition of what Stage 4 restrictions might mean for practitioners (or when/if these would come into effect), we remain in regular contact with the Department of Health and the Chief Allied Health Officer to prepare for any eventuality, and will work with you to unpack any impacts on your practice.
We continue to advocate for occupational therapy as an essential service, and we are meeting with private health insurers to advocate for the continuation of telehealth funding. Please view our Telehealth Guidelines and Resources for the latest updates and information.
On 19 July the Victorian Premier announced that people living in metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire will be required to wear a face covering when leaving home for one of the four essential reasons, (taking effect from 11:59pm on Wednesday 22 July). For more information please view the full media release.
Members can source masks online from Chemist Warehouse, Priceline and other retailers.
In some circumstances, PHNs can provide masks to allied health professionals. Allied health professionals may be eligible if:
- The masks are for staff to use
- There is no commercial supply available
- They are working in higher-risk clinical areas, and with higher risk vulnerable patients
PHNs will also consider whether the allied health professional can adjust how they practice to reduce risk. The Australian Department of Health has provided national guidance on prioritisation of masks (occupational therapy has been categorised as a moderate priority). Please visit our new mask-related webpage for more information on sourcing masks via your local PHN, including contact information.
The next COVID-19 Primary Care and Allied Health webinar inon Thursday 23 July from 2.30-3pm (AEST) will discuss wearing masks during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can join the webinar on the day using this link: https://publish.viostream.com/app/s-nh9bx5f
We encourage you to join our OTA Member Community Facebook Group and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram for regular updates. As always for specific practice enquiries, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will pass on your enquiry to our experienced practice support team.
Return to Practice Resources
To assist members in locations with lower level restrictions that may be resuming face to face practice, the following resources are available:
- Our HR partner WorkPlacePLUS has prepared a Return to Practice webinar to support OTA Members, exploring common questions that practitioners may face as they return to practice. Access the webinar here (member login required).
- OTA member Lorrae Mynard has released the follow-up to her first ebook (Normal Life Has Been Disrupted: Managing the disruption caused by COVID-19). This new guide The New Normal: Navigating Everyday Life During COVID-19 explores ideas and prompts for reflection to help tailor a new normal that’s right for you. Access and download both guides here.
Support for Rehabilitation
The World Health Organisation has released Support for rehabilitation: self-management after COVID-19-related illness. It provides support and advice for adults who are recovering from COVID-19. It can be used by individuals after hospitalisation from the illness and those in the community who did not need hospitalisation.
Stay safe and keep well,