18 March 2020

We are experiencing unprecedented concern for Australians and we are clear about the very serious impact COVID-19 may have on our staff, foster carers and the people who trust us to provide their services.

We have two simple yet powerful priorities at Life Without Barriers:

1)    Continuity of care for the people we support; and

2)    Promoting the ongoing health and wellbeing of our staff.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, our organisation is doing what we always do at times of challenge – we are leaning on our values so that we can look after everyone within the Life Without Barriers community and beyond. This extends to people we support, our staff, carers families and all stakeholders and friends we partner with.

We are a national organisation of over 7000 people. Much of the work we do involves person to person contact, which sees us connect with a multitude of communities – many of which include vulnerable people with compromised health needs. As many of the people we support are particularly susceptible to serious illness as a result of COVID-19 infection, we have activated a National Emergency Response Plan to redirect our resources to where they are needed most.

In order to ensure we can provide continuity of care to the people we support during this time, we are implementing precautionary measures informed by the latest public health information. From now, we will severely limit the number of non-essential visitors to higher risk services such as our Supported Independent Living facilities.

We are also asking everyone at Life Without Barriers, our carers and the people who work with us including any visitors, to vigilantly practise good hygiene, and to manage any flu-like symptoms seriously by seeking immediate medical care. You can further help us not visiting our support locations if it is not absolutely necessary and particularly not at all if you are unwell.

This is a situation we cannot handle alone. By working as part of a broader network – including with others in the sector and government bodies – we aim to navigate through this unprecedented health crisis with strength, compassion and resilience to everyone we come in contact with. We are committed to being responsive to people’s needs, and to ensuring that we continue to protect and care for the vulnerable communities that trust us.

Claire Robbs

National Emergency and Management Controller and Chief Executive, Life Without Barriers

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