NDIS Practice Standard 2: Provider Governance and
Operational Management #
1.0 Purpose #
The purpose of the Emergency and Disaster Management Policy and Procedure is so our participants feel safe in the event of a disaster (natural or pandemic), knowing iSeekSupport will provide them with continuity of service. iSeekSupport focuses on maintaining service delivery to our participants in times of stress and uncertainty.
Though disasters and emergencies may be infrequent, we acknowledge our services are especially important before, during, and after such events, as many participants are beyond the reach of other services and iSeekSupport provides them with an essential support lifeline.
iSeekSupport recognises that preparedness for disasters and emergencies is a priority for our organisation and a requirement to ensure the safety of our participants.
iSeekSupport will endeavour to provide an adequate level of service to our participants before, during and after all types of emergencies.
2.0 Scope #
The scope of this policy includes our participants and staff. Our participants will be informed of our emergency procedures to assist them in preparing for an emergency, build their resilience, and maintain their confidence in iSeekSupport.
Our staff will be well informed and prepared to assist participants in coping in an emergency within the community and in strengthening iSeekSupport’s disaster resilience.
3.0 Policy #
iSeekSupport places the safety and care of our participants at the forefront of our operational procedures. During a disaster, our team will adhere to this policy framework and work within any additional guidelines and instructions provided by state and federal government authorities to our organisation.
During any disaster, our senior management will undertake the following actions:
1. Follow all relevant government guidelines and instructions.
2. Review plans for continuity of support and ensure the safety, health, and wellbeing of each participant before, during and after an emergency or disaster.
- Communicate iSeekSupport’s response to staff, participants and any other relevant parties.
- Prepare participants (before any possible actions are taken) by informing them how the current situation may affect their services.
- Brief our entire staff on any possible or real action steps required by them.
- Attempt to keep key workers allocated to the same participants.
- Work towards maintaining continuity of support for each of our participants.
4.0 Procedure #
4.1 Preparing for disasters and emergencies #
A disaster is any phenomenon, natural or human-made, that has the potential to cause extensive destruction of life and property. An emergency is a situation of grave risk to health, life or environment. The mere mention of either of these two words is enough to make the community, particularly our participants, extremely nervous. The key to being ready for any disaster is having a known and understood plan by all parties.
Our organisation management will consult with participants and support networks and staff to periodically review plans so their management is relevant to the current situation.
Some disasters and emergencies iSeekSupport may face include:
- Storms or cyclones
- Create a Personal Emergency Preparation Plan for each participant through a consultation process that incorporates what happens before, during and after any emergency and disaster
- Stay informed regarding all state/territory and federal government directives and act upon these directives appropriately
- Advise other organisations, who work with iSeekSupport, of our disaster procedures and processes
- Communicate with participants and relevant networks in a manner determined in the support plan
- Identify personnel who are critical in the delivery of essential frontline services
- Identify iSeekSupport participants and their stakeholders, whose services may be impacted by the situation
- Train staff in the implementation of any strategies
- Implement this policy in conjunction with our Risk Management Policy and Procedure, our Information Management Policy and Procedure and our Human Resource Policy and Procedure
- Ensure Personal Emergency Preparation Plan explain and guide how the organisation will respond to and oversee the response to an emergency or disaster
- Develop Personal Emergency Preparation Plan through consulting with participants and their support networks to create plans for preparing for and responding to disasters that may include
- Making changes to participant supports
- Adapting, and rapidly responding to changes to participant supports and other interruptions
- Communicating changes to participant supports to workers and participants and their support networks.
- Informing participant and their support network in the manner set out in their plan
- Exit strategies (e.g. disaster)
- Continuity of supports, including potential staff replacements and options (e.g. disaster or emergency)
- Supports during emergency or disaster
- Actions to be taken by staff
- Actions to be taken by management
- Implement the Personal Emergency Preparation Plan as per the consultation if required
- Attach any Personal Emergency Preparation Plan on the service agreement and add them to the participant’s file.
- Test and adjust the Personal Emergency Preparation Plan in the context of a particular disaster by:
- Undertaking a trial run of the Personal Emergency Preparation Plan, where the plan will be:
- Acted out
- Reviewed with participants, networks and staff
- Adjusted to meet the needs, preferences and goals of the participant
- Documented strategies in the plan made, and staff informed
- Reviewing each plan when a potential disaster is evident (e.g. fire, pandemic)
- Adjusting plan due to changes in circumstances
- Ensuring continuity of supports are in place
- Communicating with the participant and support networks in a manner that allows for an understanding of what will occur before, during and after the emergency or disaster
- Review the Personal Emergency Preparation Plan in consultation with the participant and relevant support networks during the annual risk assessment of the support plan review to enable adjustments due to the changing nature of any disaster or emergency
- Gain oversight of participants’ plans during management meetings so we can gain a whole of organisation strategy.
4.2. Supporting the supporters #
Vicarious trauma is a real and grave health concern for staff and volunteers of community service organisations such as ours, mainly when working with disaster-affected individuals and communities.
iSeekSupport will determine the best means to support our staff in a disaster situation and will implement all appropriate measures as detailed in our Human Resource Management Policy and Procedure.
4.3 Consumer preparedness #
iSeekSupport understands that it is more likely that our participants will be adversely impacted by an emergency or disaster than others in the community.
We acknowledge that we may not provide the same level of service to our participants during or immediately after an emergency or disaster situation. For these reasons, all of our participants must be supported by iSeekSupport to prepare for changes due to a disaster or an emergency.
- Inform participants of the current situation and how the provision of their services and workers may be impacted
- Consult with participants and support networks on the plan’s development and any adjustments or changes in circumstances. Always ensuring that they are informed of what will occur before, during and after any disaster or emergency.
- Continue to provide participants with the same key workers if they are available
- Replace key workers with experienced workers who have the knowledge and skills to provide appropriate care to the participant
- Inform the participant of any service changes and outline reason/s for these changes
- Communicate with participants to ensure that their needs, preferences and goals are met
- Seek support within the local care community if our staff are unavailable, and ensure that any new workers are appropriately experienced, trained and hold all relevant checks required.
4.4 Staff preparedness #
Our team is our greatest asset; our focus is that they and their loved ones remain safe during an emergency or disaster.
iSeekSupport will help prepare our staff for an emergency or disaster by implementing the following:
- Inform staff of the situation and what is required by them via email, online messaging, Zoom meetings or similar
- Train workers in all required measures and strategies identified in the plan, e.g. infection control, social distancing and evacuation
- Seek feedback from participants regarding their services to adjust information distribution, if necessary
- Seek feedback from staff about actions undertaken, any issues or concerns, and what worked well.
- Inform staff of our participant’s requirements outlined in their support plan
- Test each plan to ensure that it will function before implementation
- Adjust the plan accordingly
- Inform management of the changes to plans to allow for organisational management adjustments.