A message from our CEO regarding the coronavirus pandemic
Just a few months in, it seems like 2020 could be one of the toughest years in recent memory for most of the world. Closer to home, Australian communities were already doing it tough due to chronic drought and devastating bushfires and now they must endure the challenge of the COVID-19. We stand with them in finding a way forward.
Based on government advice, together with the need and our desire to protect our client families, staff and the broader community, in March we made the tough decision to temporarily suspend all our Manly-based services, as well as our in-community programs.
Royal Far West has always embraced a spirit of innovation, perseverance and adaptiveness. So, we are meeting these significant and unprecedented challenges head-on by transitioning our services to telecare (via technology), to ensure that no child in the bush is left behind.
Our Telecare for Kids program (where we deliver gamified Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Psychology via video link) has been steadily growing over the last few years. Before this crisis we were already conducting 500 Telecare sessions per week across NSW, Queensland and WA. And while it was always our plan to grow our Telecare program to reach more families across Australia, the COVID-19 crisis and its impact on our face-to-face services has dramatically accelerated the demand for our virtual services.
We have been working around the clock since the beginning of March to make a large, organisation-wide shift to virtual service delivery across all programs as well as transition our 180+ employees to work from home, so that country kids and their families can still access therapy and assessment at home.
Take a look at our video:
COVID-19 may have significantly changed the world we live in, however it certainly has in no way reduced the demand for our specialised services. Please know that we need the support of our partners, donors and friends more than ever to be successful in this new endeavour. Our priorities for the coming months are:
- Supporting the smooth transition of our face-to-face clients to Telecare
- Ramping up our service and support to bushfire and drought affected communities, via Telecare into homes, schools and preschools, and through in-community visits when it is safe to do so
- Offering a new virtual immersion program for country children with disability to access a combination of psychology, speech therapy, occupational therapy and special education
- Developing a telehealth advisory service to share our knowledge and expertise to help individual clinicians and organisations to provide more telehealth services to people who need them most.
With 95 years of dedication to Australia’s country kids, families and communities, at Royal Far West we remain steadfast in our commitment to supporting those people who live in the rural, regional and remote Australia and we’re truly proud and honoured to be able to help so many people facing such challenging times.
Lindsay Cane AM GAICD
CEO, Royal Far West
Read a Telecare case study
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