The Queensland Government has released a roadmap to ease the restrictions in place during the COVID-19 pandemic response. Queenslanders have done a great job but we must stay focused on ensuring our success is supported by gradual re-adjustment. View general FAQs for Queenslanders or there are special provisions if you are working and living live in the Outback.
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. This information is for organisations, workers and volunteers providing disability services to people with disability in Queensland.
Information for support workers and volunteers
Under stage 1, up to 5 people may visit a home in addition to the members of the household who ordinarily reside in the house. For example, a person with disability can have up to 5 people from different households visit them at their residence.
The 5 visitor requirement applies to the residence, not to the individuals within the residence. This means only 5 people in total can visit a residence at one time. For example, a person with disability may live in a share house with 4 other people. This will mean each person can have one visitor at the same time or alternatively, 1 person within the residence can have 5 visitors at one time. Workers and volunteers are not counted as visitors in the home of a person with disability.
If a person with disability shares accommodation with other people, it may be necessary for the person in charge of the residence to have some guidelines about visiting to ensure there aren’t too many people visiting at once. Those guidelines should be developed in consultation with the people who live in the residence and their support network so that the individual needs and circumstances of all residents are taken into account. For example, visiting times can be staggered. Any questions about visiting arrangements, should first be raised with the person in charge of the residence.
Under stage 1 up to 10 people can take part in permitted activities outside the home. Like the rest of the Queensland community, a person with disability is allowed to take part in approved activities outside their home with nine other individuals, regardless of the roles and responsibility of each person For example if a person with disability decides to go out for a meal they are permitted to have an additional nine people with them, whether they be family members, friends, carers or support workers, subject to availability at the restaurant/café (which is limited to 10 patrons in total).
Physical distancing amongst groups of up to 10 people enjoying permitted activities outside the home should continue to be practiced to the extent that it is reasonably possible. For example a support worker or carer is able to provide all necessary assistance (physical support and personal care) required for a person with disability’s participation in the permitted activity.
Yes. When eating out, the 10 patrons limit per restaurant/café applies to everyone equally. It is inclusive of clients, carers, friends, family members, staff and volunteers. These limits (inclusive of clients, staffs and volunteers) also apply to other situations that are subject of the Public Health Directions.
In line with usual conventions, Carers can accompany a person with disability to a restaurant to assist with personal care and meal participation (in a group of no more than 10 people). Under these circumstances a Carer won’t be required to participate (purchase a meal) even though they are part of the group on 10. If you have any concerns about this contact the venue beforehand to discuss your requirements.
Disability workers, volunteers, friends and family members are allowed to help people with disability leave their residences.
From 16 May 2020, permitted purposes include recreational activities, like shopping for clothing or books, or having a picnic, as long as it is within a 150km radius (or 500km if they live in the Outback) of the person’s principal place of residence.
You are permitted to assist people with disability to take day trips and gather outdoors in a group of up to 10 people (including you and your support workers, family members or carers) to:
- participate in personal training, swim in public pools and public artificial lagoons (if they are open to the public)
- enjoy parks, playground equipment, skate parks and outdoor gyms
- visit public libraries and national and state parks for hiking
- attend weddings, places of worship or small religious ceremonies
- eat out at a restaurant with up to 10 patrons seated (subject to physical distancing requirements e.g. 1 person per 4 square metres)
- go shopping or access personal appearance services including beauty therapy and nail salons.
People with disability can be supported to attend funerals. Up to 20 people can attend a funeral if it is held indoors. Up to 30 people can attend if the funeral is held outdoors.
As previously allowed, leaving the house to obtain essential goods and services continues to be permitted under stage 1. Examples include to obtain food, social services, healthcare and childcare, employment services, domestic and family violence and child protection services, mental health services, services provided to victims, and legal services related to these, as well as donating blood.
However, people with disability who have complex health conditions are encouraged to consider alternatives to limit contact with people as much as possible. For example, have their support worker pick up groceries so they do not need to go to the shops, or asking for telehealth appointments rather than going to the doctor’s clinic.
If your client has any COVID-19 symptoms, they can:
- contact 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) for free health advice or take the Coronavirus Quiz
- 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.
If your client lives in supported accommodation or a group home and someone in the home has COVID-19 or a doctor thinks they are sick, use these prevention measures and take these extra actions where possible:
- place seating in shared areas or common areas, 1.5 metres apart and limit the time people are together in enclosed spaces
- plan with the people in the household on keeping safe distances from each other. Consider where they spend most of their time in the house and daily activity. Avoid or limit time spend in shared or communal areas
- plan how to keep surfaces clean and how to support everyone with meal preparation, laundry and house cleaning. Read and print these three steps (PDF) for household cleaning.
The Queenslanders with Disability Network PCEP guide has information and a planning template for people with disability to plan for staying at home for a long period of time and getting help if they or someone who supports them gets COVID-19.
The Self-isolation for Diagnosed Cases of COVID-19 Direction is intended to apply only to those who are diagnosed with COVID-19. Not others who have had close contact with that person.
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 Chief Health Officer 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.
Find out more about self-quarantine and getting support during quarantine.
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 Mythbusting. If you experience issues accessing this online training module, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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.
- Fact Sheet: Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for health care and residential care workers
- Fact Sheet: Behaviour support and restrictive practices
- Fact Sheet: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): This fact sheet explains when PPE should be used, how requests for PPE are prioritised, and provides an update on the current availability of PPE in Australia.
- Fact Sheet: Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Outbreak preparedness, prevention and management
Information for disability service providers
With the commencement of the roadmap to easing restrictions, more activities will be able to be recommenced for clients with disability.
Queensland businesses are currently required to take action 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.
Community Services Industry Alliance has released this congregate care checklist.
Up to 10 people can participate in group activities outside the home, mindful of the requirements to maintain social distancing.
Within the home, up to 5 visitors are allowed in addition to members of the household, staff and volunteers.
When eating out, the 10 person limit also applied and is inclusive of clients, staff and volunteers. These limits (inclusive of clients, staffs and volunteers) also apply to other situations that are subject of the Public Health Directions.
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 provider 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 Commission of certain events including your ability to deliver ongoing supports to NDIS participants.
Service providers delivering disability services funded by the Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors, should contact the department to discuss any service delivery issues they may be experiencing due to COVID-19, and to make arrangement 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.
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 provisions under Part 6 of the Disability Services Act 2006 (the Act) pertaining to the use of restrictive practices are still applicable. There is no change to the requirements of providers, guardians and clients to seek authorisation for a restrictive practice.
It can be difficult to differentiate between the safety measures contained within recent public health directives and restrictive practices as defined in the Act.
The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission fact sheet explains how actions in response to the advice of the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer are not considered to be a regulated restrictive practice in accordance with the NDIS Rules.
The legislated timeframes for Short-term Approvals (STAs) for the use of restrictive practices remain in place. The maximum duration for an STA is 6 months. This includes for STAs requested in relation to restrictive practices implemented in response to newly identified behaviours of harm as a consequence of the COVID-19 public health directions.
During this time it may be more difficult for service providers to secure the relevant assessments to meet STA conditions within the required time frames. In certain exceptional circumstances, a further STA can be granted which will last for a maximum of 6 months.
Where an extension under exceptional circumstances is requested, it is expected that the service provider will be able to provide evidence of all attempts to meet the required timeframes.
For more information contact the restrictive practices helpline on 1800 902 006 or send an email.
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.
- Fact Sheet: Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidelines for outbreaks in residential care facilities
- CSIA Industry Hotline 1800 027 420
- Industry Preparedness and Planning—Business continuity accelerator, scenario and continuity planning
- Resources on workplace infection Control—Guidelines, Log sheets, managing an outbreak, flowcharts and talking points with staff
- Managing Social Distancing in Congregate Care settings
National COVID-19 Coordination Commission
The Commission has published resources to assist businesses emerge from COVID19 restrictions
Work Safe Australia
- How to clean and disinfect your workplace – COVID-19
- Workplace checklists—Physical distancing, health, hygiene for facilities
- Community working safety in people’s homes
- The ACNC compliance during COVID19
Australian Government National Economic assistance package
- Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme—Supporting the Flow of Credit—up to $250,000 SMEs
- Boosting cashflow for employers
- Cash Flow Assistance—Supporting Apprentices and Trainees
- Job Keeper Program
- Last updated:
- 22 May 2020