As you may be aware, the Australian Government recently announced the three-step plan to gradually remove baseline restrictions and make Australia COVID-safe.
In response to this, Arthritis & Osteoporosis WA would like to update all of our supporters with regards to when we plan to reopen our face to face services.
Our greatest concern continues to be the health and safety of our service users, and we want to be completely certain that any of our services pose no risk of COVID-19 transmission. As evidence suggests, the demographic of our service users are at greater risk of more serious illness if they are infected with coronavirus. Therefore it is important that adults in this age range protect themselves and in turn protect others that may be more vulnerable.
Subsequently, we will not be resuming face to face services (including hydrotherapy pool and land based exercise classes) until all restrictions are completely lifted. By continuing to offer only online services at this point, AOWA are ensuring a safe service delivery to our vulnerable populations, supporting the primary healthcare system in managing COVID-19 and mitigating the spread of the virus. We must continue to safeguard our service users and do our part to prevent our facilities as a potential site for COVID-19 transmission.
AOWA would like to thank you for your understanding and continued support during this difficult time and hope that the restrictions continue to ease so that we can welcome you all back safely, when the time is right.
Arthritis & Osteoporosis WA offer a broad range of services to consumers and health professionals who are affected by or have an interest in arthritis and related conditions.
In light of the COVID-19 virus, we are now delivering our programs online in order to reduce the risk of exposure to the virus.
Online Exercise Classes
You can now exercise from the comfort of your own home with our Term 2 Online Exercise Classes.
Term 2 Exercise Programs include:
- Tai Chi for Arthritis
- Osteoporosis Exercise
- Gentle Yoga
- Arthritis Exercise
- Ankylosing Spondylitis Exercise
- Arthritis Chair-Based Exercise
- Beginner’s Yoga
We’re offering a free 2 week trial period (May 4th – May 15th), so you can see if these online classes are for you. After the trial period ends, there will then be an outright fee for the remaining 6 weeks of the term.
Online Self-Management Programs
We are now offering this popular program online so you can manage your condition at home. These LIVE information sessions will give you the opportunity to interact with other participants and ask questions from the health professionals during each session.
The program can be accessed from your computer or laptop (with or without webcam) or even your Ipad or smartphone. All you need is an internet connection.
The 6 weekly information are conducted in a friendly and supportive group atmosphere, where you will learn how to manage your condition more effectively.
Online Support Groups
Get connected online! We are offering a number of support groups the opportunity to catch up online through Zoom. Members can attend the meetings from home in the coming weeks/months and keep in contact with each other.
All you need to join the meeting is access to internet connection and either a smartphone, tablet, laptop or computer with a webcam and microphone and speakers.
Dear AOWA Service User,
I am writing to inform you that, in light of the COVID-19 situation, we have taken the decision to revise the way that we deliver service.
As of today at 6pm (Thursday 19th March 2020) we will cease delivering face to face services until further notice. This includes all exercise classes, the hydrotherapy pool, self-management programmes, support groups, community talks and public seminars.
This decision has been made because your health and well being is of utmost concern to us. AOWA feel that we would be putting you at unnecessary risk by continuing face to face delivered services, given the high risk population that we serve, along with escalation of events over the past day or so.
We are currently planning to make the content for most of our services available through electronic means. We have been working on the detail to support this and will update you soon.
Click here to view an outlined plan for our service delivery.
The Wyllie Arthritis Centre will remain open as some of the private organisations within the building will continue to function. There will be a limited number of AOWA staff in the building and we encourage you to call us with your enquiries as usual.
Of course, we remain responsive to advice from the World Health Organisation and the Australian Government as it emerges. Communications will be updated regularly as the situation changes. If you would like more information about COVID-19 please visit the Australian Government Department of Health Website at www.health.gov.au
May I please take this opportunity to wish you well as we move through this challenging period. Stay safe.
At Arthritis & Osteoporosis WA (AOWA) the welfare of our consumers is of the utmost importance to us. We are reviewing the COVID-19 virus situation regularly and are following the advice and guidance of Australian government and health authorities.
AOWA offer a broad range of services to consumers and health professionals who are affected by or have an interest in arthritis and related conditions. In light of the COVID-19 virus we are revising the way that we deliver service in order to reduce the risk of exposure to the virus.
What steps are we taking to help keep you safe?
We are continually checking COVID-19 updates from the WA Health Department and the World Health Organisation. We are treating the outbreak of COVID-19 seriously and we are committed to minimising the possibility of transmission. Our primary focus is in the best interests of all users of AOWA services and our staff. We have implemented the following action plan as of 17th March 2020:
We continue to run services where official government advice informs us that it is still safe to do so. Services, such as exercise classes and self-management programs, are operating with strict limitations on the number of participants in order to maintain social distancing practices. This means that there must be 1.5 metres distance between you, the instructor and other participants at AOWA classes and programs.
- We have placed hand sanitiser in the class area and at reception. On entering the building, please wash your hands with soap and water or apply hand sanitiser.
- We are regularly wiping down surfaces such as door handles, handrails, chairs etc with recommended disinfectant agents.
- We are cleaning hand weights (dumb bells) with a recommended disinfectant after every use.
- We are regularly spraying disinfectant around the pool area and changing rooms.
- We will provide extra cleaning equipment on gym floors to enable you to clean equipment after your workout. Members are also welcome to bring and freely use their own sanitising wipes and hand sanitiser.
- We have also increased the frequency of checks to the hand wash facilities and will ensure that we have plenty of soap available, with checks taking place every 30 minutes.
Information and Education
- We have placed educational signs around the building and ask that you read them.
- Professor Nossent (Rheumatologist) has developed a one-page educational resource about the COVID-19 as it relates to people who live with arthritis. Please familiarise yourself with this resource: https://www.arthritiswa.org.au/news/covid-19-in-western-australia-am-i-at-greater-risk-if-i-have-arthritis/
- We encourage you to monitor the following resources from WA Health Department: https://healthywa.wa.gov.au/Articles/A_E/Coronavirus
- For the latest advice and information visit the World Health Organisation: https://www.who.int/
- For information about COVID-19 and public pool facilities, you may find the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services to be a helpful resource: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus-covid-19-transmission-reduction-measures
Common Use Products and Equipment
- As COVID-19 can be transmitted via contact with surfaces, we have stored away all exercise mats, blankets and wearable ankle/wrist weights as these are a potential source for transmission. Please bring a towel with you, as well your own exercise mat for any class that wish to participate in.
- We have removed tea and coffee refreshments, cups and glasses from the exercise class area. Please bring your own water bottle to class to help reduce the risk of transmission.
Organisations providing aquatic facilities in WA, including AOWA, are bound by the ‘Code of Practice for the design, construction, operation, management and maintenance of aquatic facilities.’ The purpose of the Code is to ensure that public aquatic facilities operate to a consistently high health and safety standard which includes minimising the occurrence of disease: https://ww2.health.wa.gov.au/~/media/Files/Corporate/general%20documents/water/PDF/CoP-for-design-construction-operation-management-maintenance-aquatic-facilities.pdf
We use approved disinfecting agents to minimise the risk of transmission in line with the Code. We have also taken additional actions to ensure high standards of environmental cleaning are taking place around the pool area and changing rooms.
Members of the public using the pool are reminded to:
- Maintain good hygiene practices with frequent hand washing
- Take pre-swim showers before entering the pool
- Do not visit an aquatic facility if you feel unwell.
- Do not swim if you have diarrhoea and for 14 days after symptoms have stopped
What can you do to help?
You can help reduce the spread of the coronavirus infection by following public health guidelines on COVID-19. See links on previous page for more information.
- Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
- Always wash your hands when you get home or into work
- Use hand sanitiser gel (at least 60% alcohol base) if soap and water are not available
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- Put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
- Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
- Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
Please note that advice about COVID-19 is continually changing. We have made every effort to develop our communications to you in line with current advice. The information provided herewith, could however change at short notice.