News • 23 Mar 2020

Open Minds COVID-19 Updates

The health and safety of our clients and employees are of the highest importance to us. As such, Open Minds is treating COVID-19 as a top priority and is taking all possible steps to reduce the risks to our clients, their families, our employees and the wider community.

Updated: 11 May 2020

We are continuing to keep up to date with the latest advice and information available, to ensure that we are passing on the crucial information to our clients, their families and our wider community.

Below are some important updates:

QLD Government Restrictions

The QLD Government have made further announcements and have detailed the three-step rollout plan and the easing of the restrictions that are in place to help flatten the curve of COVID-19. It is important to understand that good hand hygiene and social distancing is still vitally important measure.

From midnight Friday 15 May, Queenslanders are able to enjoy recreational activities within 150km of your home including:

  • Go shopping for food, see a doctor or healthcare professional, and exercise outdoors
  • Go for a picnic with a maximum of 10 people within a public space
  • Go out and dine in a restaurant, pub, club, café or RSL, but no more than 10 people allowed at a time
  • Reopening of libraries, playgrounds, skate parks and outdoor gyms (maximum of 10 at a time)
  • Some beauty therapies and nail salons for up to 10 people at a time. COVID Worksafe plans must be enacted with names and contact details to be recorded
  • Go to the shops for non-essential goods i.e. clothes shopping or to visit a bookstore.

More information on the easing of the restrictions can be found on the QLD Government website.

Whilst these restrictions are being eased, we still remind you to maintain social distancing measures which include staying 1.5metres apart and maintain good hand hygiene by washing your hands for at least 20 seconds (the time it takes to sing happy birthday) often throughout the day and to avoid crowded places. This is especially important with the change in weather and ‘flu season’ approaching, to protect yourself from possible exposure.

Support Coordination

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) recognises that some people may need additional support to access services due to COVID-19. A Support Coordinator can walk alongside your needs and help you to understand the options available to you so you can stay on track to reach your goals and live your best life.

Support Coordination is available as a core support funded item, to both new and existing participants who have funding in their plan for core support. Participants are encouraged to consider their current support needs when determining how to flexibly use their Core budget and whether to use this budget to purchase support coordination services.

If you already receive Support Coordination and may need further funding, you are able to speak to the NDIA on 1800 800 110. There are special teams of planners at the NDIA who are available to help you.

This change is available for six months from the 25th March, and will be reviewed in June to see if the it is still appropriate. For further information about Open Minds Support Coordination, please contact our friendly Open Minds Enquiry team via [email protected] or by phoning 1300 673 664.


On Sunday 26 April, the Australian Government launched their COVIDSafe app. If you decide to use the app, the information stored in it, will help health officials to trace if you or someone you have been in contact with has been exposed to coronavirus. to help you be contacted if you have been in contact with someone who has been infected with COVID-19

The app can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play and also explains how your information will be used.

Disability Information Helpline

To help people with a disability, their families and carers who may need help because of COVID- 19 (coronavirus) the Disability Information Helpline has been established.

You can contact the Helpline by calling 1800 643 787.

When you call the Helpline, you will speak to a person who will:

  • Listen carefully to you.
  • Use their connections to find things out, check the facts, and get information for you.
  • Transfer you to services that can help you.
  • Transfer you to a phone counsellor for emotional support, if you would like.
  • Give you clear and accessible information.

The Helpline is available Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm (AEST) and Saturday and Sunday 9am to 7pm (AEST).

Updated: 9th April 2020

At Open Minds, our team are keeping a close eye on all the official updates and sharing the every-changing information that is being released.

  • This information has informed our Business Continuity Team to focus on our strengths and continue delivering our services, whilst we navigate our way through this new normal. Thankfully we are still able to continue providing support and also continue taking new business enquiries.  Did we have to make changes to the way we do business? Of course we did.  We will continue to be agile and adjust the way we operate to do all that we can to keep supporting our customers. 
  • Many of our staff have embraced the change to their work hours and clients they support, with the understanding it is for the greater good.  We are very fortunate to have such a committed workforce and understanding clients.
  • Our Allied Health Services – headspace Redcliffe and Taringa, along with the Mental Health Hub Morayfield, have moved to providing Online Mental Health Services to our clients where possible.  This will provide both staff and clients the ability to speak and consult as usual, while maintaining the Department of Health’s guidelines around social distancing. 
  • We have successfully moved to a mobile workforce and are working our way through ensuring our teams are connected over lunchtime breaks on video chats together, video staff meetings, etc.
  • We have created a wellness series ‘Living Well through COVID’ and have seen some wonderful engagement out there.  Everyone is eager to support their mental health which is so wonderful to see.  We encourage our community to follow along by posting images of ways you are keeping well during this time by using #CovidConnectAus.

Last updated: 21 March 2020

From Monday 23rd March, we will begin transitioning our teams to become a mobile workforce and limit physical meetings, as much as possible. 

This is in line with the advice from the Department of Health on Social Distancing and the importance of reducing the possibility of exposure and the spread of COVID-19. 

We are working to limit any attendance at our Hubs and very soon they will not be attended by staff.  If you have any meetings scheduled at one of our locations, please reach out to your contact.

Our response

Last updated: 17 March 2020

To ensure that our clients are as safe as possible, we are:

•    Supporting clients to identify medication needs’ Ensuring all clients have at least two weeks medication available in case of isolation.
•    Stocking pantries with essential items (particularly important for any specific dietary requirements, such as allergies or intolerances).
•    Advising Support Workers of Woolworths opening hours between 7-8am daily for priority supplies for people with disability
•    Restricting non-essential staff travel.
•    Regularly sharing Australian Governments’ advice and guidance on travel restrictions, self-isolation and what to do if you have been exposed to COVID-19.
•    Increase awareness around personal hygiene, handwashing and general cleaning practices.
•    Actively supervising our clients and supported employees to ensure hands are properly washed regularly.
•    Reviewing the need for face to face meetings and restricting group activities.

If we have a confirmed case of COVID-19

If a confirmed case of COVID-19 were to occur at an Open Minds hub or accommodation site, we would continue to adhere to the guidelines set by the Department of Health.

Our emergency response plan for this situation includes:

•    The person will be isolated for 14 days if COVID-19 is suspected.

Where there is a confirmed case, our emergency plans and infection control procedure will be enacted. This includes:

•    Identifying which Open Minds clients or employees the person has been in contact with.
•    Notifying the relevant Government departments and authorities.
•    Deep cleaning the hub, site or accommodation site.
•    Providing any necessary safety equipment.
•    We will arrange for family members or carers to keep in touch with the client or staff member.

Advice for families and clients

Last updated: 16 March 2020

As the health and safety of our clients and employees is our most important priority, we ask everyone, whether they are staff or clients, to please stay at home if they are feeling unwell.

If you are unwell with a fever, cold, cough or have difficulty breathing, it’s important to please seek medical advice immediately. You will require a medical clearance prior to returning to work.

Families, carers and clients can call the Coronavirus hotline on 1800 020 080 or call your local GP. They will advise you on your next steps.

Advice for visitors

Last updated: 16 March 2020

We have restricted all non-essential visitors to all sites and accommodation sites in order to protect clients and reduce the spread of COVID-19. Please contact your support worker, care leader, team leader or Open Minds contact for questions or concerns.

If you need to visit a site or accommodation site, please remember the following:

•    Cough or sneeze into your elbow.
•    Wash your hands regularly with soap or hand sanitiser.
•    Avoid shaking hands or unnecessary touching.
•    Avoid touching your face.
•    Wash your hands before and after eating, going to the toilet, smoking and contact anyone.
•    Stay at home if you are unwell.

We have resources available for clients on safe hygiene practices, including a VIDEO: How to wash your hands.

Please do not visit any Open Minds hubs if

•    You have returned from any country outside Australia in the last 14 days. Please do not enter any of our sites until you have completed 14 days of self-quarantine.
•    You have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 in the last 14 days.
•    You have any signs of illness, like fever, a cough, sore throat, tiredness or shortness of breath.

Important numbers

•    Coronavirus Hotline: 1800 020 080
•    QLD Department of Health: 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84)
•    NSW Department of Health: 1800 022 222

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