Client Services Charter

Guide Dogs Queensland Client Services Charter

Guide Dogs Queensland (GDQ) provides supports aimed at reducing the potential disadvantage of vision impairment.

The role of Client Services

Our specialist team work with Queenslanders who have low or no vision in assisting them to:

Our services include information and referral service, specialised Orientation and Mobility services, Occupational Therapy, Guide Dog Services, a Psychology service, Better Living programs, , Assistive Technology services, and early intervention programs for children.

A multi-disciplinary team is employed to deliver these programs.

State-wide Service Delivery

The service is delivered across Queensland with regional offices based in Townsville, Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast.  Outreach services are provided to all other areas and scheduled on a regular basis and/or as need arises. Group programs are delivered on-site at GDQ’s residential facility located in Bald Hills or otherwise in regional areas, in the community and in the home.

Service Delivery in the event of emergencies or disasters

In the event of services not being able to be delivered as planned due to an emergency or disaster situation, GDQ will consult with its clients who are impacted by these events, and their stakeholders, to discuss and agree a suitable alternative, such as delivering services via telehealth, or other acceptable safe solution.

Education and Referral

GDQ also plays an active role in building community understanding of the needs of people living with a vision impairment.  GDQ provides information about vision impairment, services to people with vision impairment, public access and safety relevant to vision disability, and referrals to appropriate organisations.

Policies relating to Client Service Delivery

A suite of policies, procedures and forms have been developed to ensure quality services to clients.  All staff are inducted in these policies during orientation and are required to familiarise themselves with them and abide by them. The most current versions can be accessed on the Quality portal.

New policies are developed and existing policies are reviewed on an annual basis.

Access to Service

It is the policy of GDQ to provide services to people with low or no vision throughout Queensland in a non-discriminatory manner on the basis of individual relative need.

Eligibility for services

Queensland residents are eligible to receive services from GDQ when:

Priority of Service

When allocating client referrals for service provision, the following priorities are considered:

When any of these circumstances are present, the person taking the referral will consult with one of the following: the Allied Health Manager, a Discipline Lead or the General Manager of Client Services to determine an appropriate priority of service.

Referral

Referrals for GDQ services are accepted from a variety of individuals and organisations on the proviso that the client has given consent to be referred. Some common referral sources include self, family, friends, medical practitioners, eye care professionals, and community service organisations.

Initial Assessment

An initial assessment is undertaken:

At assessment, if it is determined by Client Services staff that a program would be beneficial for the client, the program can proceed if:

Exit from Service Provision

As specified in the Client Rights and Responsibilities Statement, a client may exit from a service provided by GDQ at any time if they no longer require the service. It is made clear to the client that they are welcome to access GDQ services at any future stage as required. Assistance or information regarding onward referral to other service providers is also made available at this time.

Declining a Service

GDQ recognises that there may be instances where a service is declined by a client or where the client is deemed unsuitable for a service through the assessment process (e.g. assessment for a Guide Dog). When this occurs GDQ will ensure that clients are:

Client Services may decline or withdraw from a service on the following basis:

Clients who are declined a service may re-apply for re-assessment when or if there is a change in the client’s condition or situation (i.e. physical, psychological, environmental, etc.).

Re-applying for Service

Clients can re-apply for a service in the event that they decline a service or they face an unsuccessful assessment for the use of a service. If services are declined, reasons are documented in the client’s record.

GDQ aims to provide clients with an efficient and equitable complaint process, which adheres to the principles of natural justice, for the timely resolution of problems.

Complaints Management

The complaints procedure aims to:

GDQ’s Complaints Management Policy outlines the procedures and timeframes to be followed for each stage of the complaint process. All complaints are to be registered within the Quality Department.

Incident Management

If accidents or incidents do occur, they will be managed promptly and appropriately.  Procedures and related forms exist to ensure that management are informed and immediate and follow up actions are taken to support persons affected, and incidents investigated to ensure that the possibility of recurrence or further risk is minimised.

Hazard inspection, hazard reporting and maintenance programs are in place to minimise workplace accidents or dangerous occurrences.

Risk Management

Clients will be encouraged to participate in the design of their service provision and supported to make informed choices about the benefits and risks of the service delivery options under consideration.

Continuous Improvement

GDQ’s person centred service delivery is focused on delivering quality services, consider the needs of clients, and is part of an overall quality system to assess the standard of care and services on an ongoing basis.

Privacy Policy

GDQ staff will ensure that clients’ privacy and dignity is always respected.  Any information collected about clients will be limited to information necessary for services and functions and will remain private and confidential as defined in the GDQ Privacy Policy.

Preventing and Responding to Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation

GDQ is committed to preventing and responding to the abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with a disability.  GDQ’s commitment and principles of prevention, identification and response to abuse, neglect or exploitation of people with a disability are outlined in POL 4007 Preventing and Responding to Abuse Neglect and Exploitation of People With a Disability.

Client File Management 

To assist in the delivery of services and in line with our commitment to privacy all client service-related records are stored in a client database.  The database is accessible through a password protected site. Electronic storage of client information is protected by internal firewall and encrypted database management system, user access and related domain access control rights administered by GDQ IT systems and authorised by either the General Manager or HR. All data and progress notes relating to client contact are entered by approved client services staff.  All records and files remain in secure storage for at least seven years from the date of expiry or as determined by retention requirements.

Procedures for Accessing and Disclosing Information

Access to client information is secured and only available to approved persons related to client service-delivery or IT management .  All such persons are required to sign and adhere to our Confidentiality Agreement.

The Privacy Policy outlines the process by which clients can gain access to their own personal file upon request.

Disclosure of information to external agencies can only be made with the client’s consent except in the event of a medical emergency. Clients are made aware of the confidentiality of their personal information through the Client Rights and Responsibilities Statement which is reviewed with clients upon registration for a service.

Service Delivery Procedures and Forms

In order to accurately document service delivery and maintain current client information there is a full suite of forms utilised by Client Services. Accurate completion and maintenance of these documents ensures the delivery of optimal client service.

Forms commonly used in delivering regular client services include:

Request for Service

Completed at time of referral. A client database file (Client Profile) is then created and their details added, including contact information, communication preferences, mobility aid type/size, and documentation of any information regarding the referral such as urgency, special directives, or client or staff safety concerns.

Individual Program Plan (IPP)

Developed by the Practitioner in conjunction with the client (and advocate if desired by client) and signed off on by both client and Practitioner. It specifies the client’s goals and program objectives, time frames and location of delivery of services. A copy of the IPP is offered to the client.

Medical History

Clients complete a Self-Assessment Medical Form.  If required based on the responses, a form is provided to the client to take to their doctor (GP) for completion and return prior to program commencement. This medical information is considered in the context of the personalised plan to ensure that the health and wellbeing needs of each client are considered.

Program Progress Notes

Document ongoing program notes, detailing the objective of each program session and the outcome. Progress notes can be made directly onto the client’s online record on the database by clicking ‘Add Note’ within the client’s programs section of their file.

Residential and On-site Services

Residential Classes

Residential classes are available to clients and are held on-campus at the client residence at Bald Hills. A series of regular programs are run at the centre and may include:

Residential Fee and Cancellation Policy

It also outlines the cancellation policy that will apply if a client cancels their attendance on a residential program and provides information on the process for applying to the GDQ Benevolent Fund for those clients who wish to have the contribution fee waived on the grounds of financial hardship.

Residential Program Contribution Fee

Where a client does not have access to funding through an NDIS plan or other funding source a daily contribution fee will apply.  This contribution fee goes towards the running costs of the class, e.g. accommodation, meals and the time and expertise of the instructors to run the program.

Clients will be invoiced for the program contribution fee in advance once they have confirmed their attendance on the residential program. Payment of the contribution fee will secure a client’s place on the program. Payment can be made by credit card or direct bank transfer to Guide Dogs Queensland.  Details of the available payment methods will be outlined on the invoice provided.

If you are financially disadvantaged, you may apply to the GDQ Benevolent Fund and if successful in your application the program contribution fee will be waived.  Applications should be made in writing to the General Manager of Client Services outlining the reasons for your request.  The General Manager will review your application and advise if your application has been successful.

Residential Program Cancellation Refunds of Daily Contribution Fee (if applicable)

Where a client has been invoiced their daily contribution fee and provides 2 weeks or more notice of their intention to cancel their attendance on the residential program they will receive a 100% refund of their program contribution fee.

Where a client has been invoiced their daily contribution fee and provides less than 2 weeks’ notice of their intention to cancel their attendance on the residential program they will receive a 50% refund of their contribution fee.

If the program is cancelled by GDQ then clients will be notified and will receive a full refund of any monies paid.

NB:  The above will not apply for clients who are late entrants to the program.

Meeting Individual Client Needs

GDQ provides individualised Orientation & Mobility, Occupational Therapy, Assistive Technology and Psychology services to its clients, with program design and implementation based on the involvement and decision making of the client at all stages of the service process. Policies and procedures are in place for consistent practice in developing personalised plans and encompass least restrictive practice.

To ensure that GDQ provides an individualised service which is specific to each client, a plan is completed for each client. The plan is developed by the GDQ specialist in conjunction with the individual and, if requested, an advocate nominated by the client. A copy of the IPP is provided to the client if desired.

In providing services to people with vision impairments GDQ has the responsibility to provide services in a professional manner which respects the rights of clients. GDQ has various obligations and responsibilities, including those of positive and professional service, client involvement in decision making, privacy and confidentiality.

Client Privacy, Dignity and Confidentiality

GDQ employees and volunteers have the responsibility of observing confidentiality and privacy in all client matters, as well as treating clients with respect and dignity.

As stated in the Client Rights and Responsibilities Statement, with regard to dignity, confidentiality and privacy, clients receiving services from GDQ can expect:

Policies and Procedures to Maintain Dignity and Privacy

GDQ has privacy and confidentiality policies that are consistent with relevant privacy legislation and principles.

GDQ has proactive practices in place to ensure that the dignity of service users, in relation to their individual needs and circumstances, are respected.

Service users are provided with information regarding the collection, storage, disposal and accessibility of personal information

Service users are provided with access to an independent support person of their choice to assist them in all matters relating to the collection, storage, disposal and accessibility of personal information.

GDQ does not disclose personal information about service users without their informed consent.

GDQ has safeguards in place (including policies and procedures) to ensure that only information, which is relevant to the service/s provided, is collected and stored.

Service staff are required to outline to clients their rights and responsibilities. This is ensured by the requirement for the Client Rights and Responsibility policy being read in full to clients at the commencement of contact.

If there is reasonable suspicion that an individual’s need for privacy, dignity or confidentiality has been undermined, the matter should be addressed through management or alternatively by following the steps outlined in the GDQ Complaints Policy.

Information Recorded by GDQ

GDQ is committed to keeping only the minimum essential client information necessary to the effective servicing of client’s needs.

Examples of the type of information recorded include one or more of the following:

Clients are encouraged to ask questions such as:

Client Participation in Decision Making

GDQ recognises that people who have low or no vision have the right to determine the appropriate services for themselves and accordingly encourage them to take part in the decision making process both at an individual level and at service or organisational level.

Client Participation and Integration

GDQ’s services are focused on promoting independence and access to the community through enhancing clients’ mobility skills and awareness of community organisations, government services, social networking opportunities and transport options. GDQ’s services recognise the valuable role all individuals have in the community and aim to enhance the opportunities of clients to access and contribute, in a valued way, to community life. Clients are provided with information on a range of services available in their local communities at the time of assessment, and throughout the training program.

GDQ values the input of clients to ensure a continuous improvement process. As part of the feedback system clients are provided the opportunity to give feedback about the services they have received. This occurs through:

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