COVID-19 Service Update.

Supporting you safely through best-practice service delivery.
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The latest update on our services

As always, our number one priority is the health and wellbeing of everyone in the community.

With restrictions gradually easing in NSW/ACT, we can slowly move closer to ‘business as usual’ for service and supports.

We now offer a good mix of both face-to-face and video or phone calls (sometimes referred to as telepractice) depending on your needs and situation. If you would like to discuss which options best meet your individual needs or preferences, please contact your local Guide Dogs office or call 1800 484 333.

Our team will continue to monitor and respond to any change in health advice, or new regulations from the Government.

If you are looking to access services for the first time—or you’re hoping to make a referral for a patient, family member, friend, or loved one—please contact our Client Services team on 1800 484 333.

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What services are available?

We still offer a wide range of services to support your confidence and independence.

Although some of our service delivery methods have changed due to COVID-19, you can still access a wide range of services to support your experience with low vision or blindness.

We’re available to assist you—or your family members—to:

  • Live more independently
  • Achieve your unique goals
  • Improve learning and skill development
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Our specific services include:

Orientation and Mobility Services support you to move safely and confidently around your home and community. This includes learning to navigate different environments, using mobility aids—like a long cane or a Guide Dog—and making adjustments within your home. Services are available for Children’s Mobility Services (from birth to age 18), Adult Mobility Services, and Guide Dog Mobility Services. You will be consulted to determine whether these services are best delivered in person or via telepractice while in-person restrictions remain in place.

These services can support you to achieve a range of everyday goals; things like preparing meals, personal care, and other household responsibilities. Occupational Therapists can support you with the knowledge, skills and equipment required to improve your goals and achieve greater independence.

Learn more about Occupational Therapy

The Access to Information Service can support you to achieve your goals in accessing printed text, digital text, images, videos, audio and tactile information.

If you have low vision, Orthoptists can support you in the Access to Information Service by:

  • Assessing and understanding your level of functional vision
  • Identifying the best techniques to assist you in accessing information, including magnification, improved lighting, and other adjustments you can make at home.

If you have very low vision or blindness, Assistive Technology specialists can support you by:

  • Using technology solutions that convert visual information, so you can access it using your hearing or touch.
  • Personalised training so that you can apply the technology in achieving your unique goals.

A new feature of this service is our Assistive Technology Help Desk. The Help Desk can provide you with over-the-phone support in using technologies related to your vision. This might include:

  • Information about available products
  • Tips and tricks for using your technology
  • Information on how you can achieve new goals with technology
  • Information on other support services that are available in the community.

To access the Help Desk, please call any Guide Dogs office number or 1800 484 333.

Connection Services are designed to link you with people who have similar life experiences to you, through social and peer networks. These connections provide great opportunities for you to discuss common interests and challenges with others. During the COVID-19 restrictions, these services are delivered online or via phone call.

What is telepractice?

Telepractice involves accessing and providing our regular services using a phone or the internet.

Telepractice services are usually delivered on a smart phone, tablet device or computer.

Telepractice can be just as effective as our usual in-person services. For the best quality of service, it’s important that you have access to the right technology device and a safe environment to participate in the sessions.

Throughout the restrictions, we continue to accept new requests or referrals for service. We can provide immediate support for you and your family, including:

  • Spending time to explain vision loss
  • Starting an assessment via telepractice by discussing your background, personal situation, and goals, so that we can understand your short- and long-term needs.
  • Providing immediate support through ‘tips and connections’ to assist with daily activities.
  • Determining the amount of training you may be able to receive through telepractice.
  • Supporting you to participate in the NDIS.
  • Recommending equipment that is identified as necessary for your supports.

Please note that NDIS clients can continue to use funding to access any services delivered via telepractice.

For more information on our telepractice services—including how to make a referral—please call 1800 484 333.

About our COVID-19 safety plan

In line with Government regulations and leading health advice, Guide Dogs has developed a comprehensive COVID-19 Safe Operating Plan.

The Plan is designed to protect our staff, our community, family and friends, and you, while ensuring we continue to deliver the highest quality service and supports.

Key steps include:

  1. Increasing the number of telepractice services available (including service and support via phone and video calls) to minimise in-person contact, and
  2. Providing comprehensive training in COVID-19 safety practices for any staff providing services in-person.

We continue to monitor all State and Federal health advice to ensure we can respond to any developments that may affect our service delivery arrangements.

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How to get support

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