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COVID-19 information for service providers, workers and volunteers

People with disability may be impacted more significantly by coronavirus (COVID-19) especially if they have underlying medical conditions.

For all the latest information regarding COVID-19 in Queensland please check the Queensland Health COVID-19 updates.

Information and directions from Queensland Health relating to shared disability accommodation services can be found in the Disability Accommodation Services Direction. To stay up to date on the latest news, view or sign up  to the Disability Connect Queensland eBlast.

Information for support workers and volunteers

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If your client has any COVID-19 symptoms, they can:

  • contact 134 COVID (134 268) for free health advice
  • visit their regular doctor. It is important to call the doctor beforehand and tell them how they feel and that they may have COVID-19
  • call the national Disability Information Helpline on 1800 643 787 or the National Health COVID hotline for people with symptoms, on 1800 022 222
    • call 000 (Triple Zero), if feeling very sick.

A person who is diagnosed with COVID-19 in Queensland must self-isolate.

The isolation period is 14 days from diagnosis, or until a clearance is received in writing from a registered nurse or medical practitioner—whichever is earlier.

Clients who are self-isolating must not leave the premises, unless they are sick and need a doctor or medicine, or it is an emergency such as to avoid a risk of harm. If the person needs to see a doctor, they should call their General Practitioner and arrange a telehealth appointment. If a person needs urgent assistance, they should call an Ambulance on 000 (Triple Zero).

Clients who are self-isolating cannot permit any other person to enter the premises unless that person usually lives at the premises or is living at the premises for the purpose of self-isolation, or for medical or emergency purposes.

Medical and emergency purposes include essential disability supports such as bladder and bowel management, medication management, behaviour management, respiratory management, PEG changes, pressure relief/turning and wound care, assistance with feeding and hydration, and assistance with basic personal hygiene.

If a client has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and is assessed to be medically safe to receive care in their home, service providers need to plan how they continue to provide disability supports to the person in a way that respects and upholds their rights and dignity.

Support workers should follow the rules on using Personal Protective Equipment.

If your client is in self-isolation and needs help getting food or other essentials, you can call the Community Recovery Hotline on 1800 173 349.

For people who feel well but have had close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19, Queensland Health will identify if they need to self-quarantine through contact tracing and the relevant authorities will give a direction to self-quarantine if required.

People in close contact may likely include disability support workers and volunteers. Disability providers will have processes in place for workers who may be instructed to self-quarantine.

Self-quarantine means staying in your home, hotel room or provided accommodation, and not leaving for the period you are required to quarantine. Only people who usually live in the household should be in the home. Do not allow visitors into the home.

Coronavirus Hotline—If you are concerned about your health or that of your staff or clients call the Coronavirus Health Information line 1800 020 080.

Disability Information Helpline—1800 643 787 provides accessible information, counselling and outreach services for people with disability who are concerned about or affected by coronavirus (COVID-19). The Helpline can also be beneficial to families, carers and support workers.

  • Infection Control Training: This 30-minute online training module is for health care workers in all settings. The training covers the fundamentals of infection prevention and control (IPC) for COVID-19, including: COVID-19—what is it?, Signs and symptoms, Keeping safe—protecting participants and your workforce, and Myth busting.
  • Training for NDIS workers during COVID-19: NDIS providers and the people they employ or otherwise engage need to understand their responsibilities to the NDIS participants they support. During the COVID-19 pandemic period it is expected that new workers will enter the NDIS workforce.

Information for disability service providers

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More activities will be able to be recommenced for clients with disability.

Queensland businesses are currently required to take steps to manage COVID-19 in the workplace and should have a workplace health and safety plan which includes COVID-19 planning in place to demonstrate this. As this is an existing measure linked to current workplace health and safety legislation we recommend that this plan — or a summary of it — is what should be displayed as evidence that a business is COVID SAFE. View the Framework for COVID Safe Businesses and more information.

All providers are expected to continue to meet the immediate needs of the people they support and make arrangements to ensure their clients are not left without essential services.

NDIS providers are expected to continue delivering supports to NDIS participants and prioritise supports to meet the immediate needs of participants. The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission is advising providers of their obligations and is issuing Provider Alerts in response to coronavirus (COVID-19).

These include NDIS provider obligations in relation to:

  • business continuity
  • NDIS Code of Conduct
  • NDIS Practice Standards
  • conditions of registration
  • risk management
  • notifying the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission of certain events including your ability to deliver ongoing supports to NDIS participants.

For more information visit the NDIS Commission website.

Service providers delivering disability services funded by the Department of Seniors, Disability Services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, should contact the department to discuss any service delivery issues they may be experiencing due to COVID-19 and to make arrangements to ensure essential services continue to be available to the people they support.

The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission has an online training module for existing and new support workers on infection prevention and control for COVID-19. The training covers the fundamentals of infection prevention and control for COVID-19, including: COVID-19—what it is; signs and symptoms; keeping safe–protecting participants and your workforce; and myth busting.

NDIS Providers need to refer to the NDIS website about how to access PPE.

Providers should continue to access PPE through their usual means. Where this is no longer possible, they should approach the National Medical Stockpile (NMS).

Access to PPE will also be prioritised for those NDIS providers who deliver personal care and other activities that require close physical contact where there is an immediate threat to continuity of safe quality care due to lack of access to PPE, or where the participant has a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19.

NDIS providers and self-managing participants who can no longer access PPE supplies through usual means can email NMS.

Providers may be looking for workers to deliver much-needed disability supports, and provide extra cover.

As part of the National Disability Insurance Agency’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, NDIS participants and providers can now connect with matching platforms through the NDIS website—to quickly and easily find the support workers they need.

Services the platforms offer include posting job alerts, searching for workers, booking workers and assisting with on-boarding new staff.

Find out more about how to find extra support workers.

The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission has important information about coronavirus for NDIS service providers, including provider obligations, how to reduce the risk to participants, and links to updates and resources, including Notification of changes and events related to COVID-19.

It is a condition of NDIS registration providers notify the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commissioner of certain changes and events, especially those which substantially affect your ability to provide the supports and services you are registered to provide.

Find out more about the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission.

The National Disability Insurance Agency is supporting providers and sharing advice about any changes that may affect their business throughout the coronavirus outbreak.

Find information on financial support, as well as updates to claiming and cancellation policies, support coordination and provider obligations on the NDIS website.