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Disability Accommodation Services

Disability Accommodation Services Direction (No. 21)

What’s changed from 6am AEST 23 July 2021

  • There are no restricted Local Government Areas. You can now enter a disability accommodation service if you follow visitor requirements.
  • Students on clinical placement can now enter a disability accommodation service without needing a COVID-19 vaccine as there are no Restricted Local Government areas.
  • Clarify that you can enter a disability accommodation service if you have been residing in the New South Wales border zone for the past 14 days.

Overview

For disability accommodation services located in Queensland, the following measures apply:

Visitors, staff or volunteers at a disability accommodation service should not be anyone who:

  • is unwell
  • has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or asked to quarantine
  • has returned from overseas in the last 14 days (excluding safe travel zone countries)
  • has had contact with a person with COVID-19 in the last 14 days
  • has visited a COVID-19 hotspot in the last 14 days or since the hotspot was declared (whichever is shorter)
  • has visited an interstate exposure venue in the last 14 days unless an exemption has been granted for an end of life visit
  • has been in an interstate area of concern unless 14 days have passed or  since the identified start date (whichever is shorter), unless you fit into one of the categories of people who are allowed to enter an accommodation service with a negative COVID-19 test.
  • has been tested for COVID-19 and are waiting for the result (except for tests due to surveillance testing obligations)
  • has COVID-19 symptoms of fever (37.5 degrees or more), cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, loss of smell or taste, runny nose, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting or fatigue.

You may enter a disability accommodation service if you do not fit into any of the above categories.

Visitors should:

  • wash their hands before entering and leaving the service
  • stay 1.5 metres away from others where possible
  • stay in the resident’s room, outside or in a specific area (avoiding communal spaces)
  • stay away when unwell
  • follow requests from the service to help keep staff and residents safe.

For full details read the Disability Accommodation Services Direction (No. 21).

Questions and answers about this Direction

Questions about restricted disability accommodation services

What Local Government Areas are restricted?

There are currently no Local Government Areas where increased restrictions apply to disability accommodation services.

Certain restrictions continue to apply to residential aged care facilities under the Disability Accommodation Services Direction.

Questions about disability accommodation services

Who can visit a disability accommodation service?

Visitors, staff or volunteers at a disability accommodation service should not be anyone who:

  • is unwell
  • has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or asked to quarantine
  • has returned from overseas in the last 14 days (excluding safe travel zone countries)
  • is a close contact, unless their quarantine period has ended
  • has visited a COVID-19 hotspot in the last 14 days or since the hotspot was declared (whichever is shorter)
  • has visited an interstate exposure site in the last 14 days unless an exemption has been granted for an end of life visit
  • has been in an interstate area of concern in the last 14 days or since the identified start date (whichever is shorter) unless you fit into one of the categories of people who are allowed to enter an accommodation service with a negative COVID-19 test.
  • has been tested for COVID-19 and are waiting for the result (except for tests due to surveillance testing obligations)
  • has COVID-19 symptoms of fever (37.5 degrees or more), cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, loss of smell or taste, runny nose, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting or fatigue.

You may enter a disability accommodation service if you do not fit into any of the above categories.

You may enter a disability accommodation service if you have been in an interstate area of concern in the last 14 days or since the identified start date (whichever is shorter) if you obtain a negative COVID-19 test in Queensland and are:

  • an employee, contractor, or student of the accommodation service
  • providing goods or services necessary for the accommodation service’s operation
  • providing health, medical, social work, essential disability support or pharmaceutical or pathology services to a resident
  • required for emergency management, law enforcement or to comply with a power or function of a government agency or entity
  • a prospective resident or a support person of a prospective resident
  • providing behavioural, emotional or social support to a resident or prospective resident that can’t be delivered by non-contact means – with permission of the accommodation service operator
  • attending for an end of life visit.

You may be requested to provide evidence of the negative COVID-19 test when entering the facility.

Visitors should:

  • wash their hands before entering and leaving the facility
  • stay 1.5 metres away from others where possible
  • stay in the resident’s room, outside or in a specific area (avoiding communal spaces)
  • stay away when unwell
  • follow requests from the facility to help keep staff and residents safe.

Can I visit someone who is near their end of life in a disability accommodation service if I have been to an interstate exposure venue, hotspot or overseas in the last 14 days?

Visitors who have been to an interstate exposure venue, hotspot or overseas (other than a Queensland safe travel zone country) in the last 14 days must be granted an exemption by the Chief Health Officer for an end of life visit. You must comply with all the conditions given under the exemption.

The disability accommodation service must also take reasonable steps to manage your visit in line with the conditions of the exemption. For example, this could mean:

  • the operator needs to ensure the resident you are visiting is in a single room
  • you wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • you are escorted to and from the room
  • you avoid common areas and contact with other residents.

To apply for an exemption for an end of life visit, complete the form online using the COVID-19 Services Portal. Call 134 COVID (13 42 68) if you need help making your application.

I am a NSW border zone resident, can I enter a disability accommodation service in Queensland?

Yes. You can enter a disability accommodation service you have been residing in the New South Wales border zone for the past 14 days and have not been outside the border zone.

What is considered essential disability support?

Essential disability support is support provided to a person with a disability including:

  • bladder and bowel management
  • medication management
  • behaviour management
  • respiratory management
  • Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastromy (PEG) Changes
  • pressure relief/turning and wound care
  • assistance with feeding and hydration
  • assistance with basic personal hygiene

What is a communal space / common area?

A communal space / common area includes shared living spaces like kitchens, bathrooms and living rooms where people congregate for longer periods of time. These areas do not include spaces like entryways or hallways where people may pass each other.

How can we support our loved ones if we are unable to visit them?

It’s important to stay connected with residents. If you are unable to visit your loved ones for any reason, you can keep in touch by:

  • phone calls
  • video calls
  • sending letters and postcards
  • sending artwork
  • sending home videos.

What should I do if I am concerned about how restrictions will impact my disability services?

If you are concerned these arrangements may impact your support arrangements, please contact your support provider in the first instance.

If a provider has withdrawn services you should contact the NDIS Quality and Safeguard Commission by phoning 1800 035 544.

If you are a NDIS participant and have immediate concerns about not receiving essential supports due to current restrictions, contact the NDIA on 1800 800 110 and select option 5.

In the event of an emergency please call 000.

If you are in need of urgent essential disability care and you have been unable to access alternative services through your usual provider or an alternative provider, please contact the community recovery hotline on 1800 173 349.

Are there penalties if I don’t comply?

Yes. If you don’t comply with any part of the Direction you may be given an on-the-spot fine of $1,378 for individuals and $6,892 for corporations, a court-imposed penalty of up to $13,785 or 6 months' imprisonment.

Questions about close contacts

Who is considered a close contact of a person with COVID-19?

The Disability Accommodation Services Direction states that a person must not enter a disability accommodation service if they are a close contact of someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

A close contact is someone who has:

  • had face-to-face contact for any amount of time or shared a closed space for at least 1 hour with a confirmed case during their infectious period.
  • been to a venue or location where the risk of transmission is considered high based on public health assessment.
  • been identified by public health authorities to be at high risk for developing COVID-19 as they have or may have been in contact with someone with COVID-19, for example in a school or other institutional setting.
  • been advised they will be provided with a quarantine direction by an emergency officer – by text, email or phone call.
  • been confirmed a close contact or casual contact by an interstate government authority.

The Management of Close Contacts Direction outlines the quarantine, travel and testing requirements for close contacts.

Are healthcare workers considered to be close contacts?

The Disability Accommodation Services Direction states that a person must not enter a disability accommodation service if they are a close contact of someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Disability accommodation service workers, healthcare workers or practitioners providing health or medical care may provide care for suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases. These workers are not considered close contacts for the purposes of the Direction where they have been wearing appropriate PPE (PDF) and followed recommended infection control precautions.

Questions about staff

I have received a negative COVID-19 test after returning from an interstate area of concern, when can I return to work/study/volunteer/support at a disability accommodation service?

You may enter a disability accommodation service if you have been in an interstate area of concern (excluding interstate exposure venues) in the last 14 days or since the identified start date (whichever is shorter) if you obtain a negative COVID-19 test and are:

  • an employee, contractor, or student of the accommodation service
  • providing goods or services necessary for the accommodation service’s operation
  • providing health, medical, social work, essential disability support pharmaceutical or pathology services to a resident
  • required for emergency management, law enforcement or to comply with a power or function of a government agency or entity
  • required to comply with or give effect to an order of any court or tribunal
  • a prospective resident
  • providing behavioural, emotional or social support to a resident or prospective resident that can’t be delivered by non-contact means – with permission of the accommodation service operator
  • attending for an end of life visit.

You may be requested to provide evidence of the negative COVID-19 test when entering the facility.

If you fall into one of the above categories you can only enter the premises of a disability accommodation service, if you:

  • are not unwell
  • have not returned from overseas in the last 14 days (excluding safe travel zone countries)
  • have not had contact with a person with COVID-19 in the last 14 days
  • have not visited a COVID-19 hotspot in the last 14 days or since the hotspot was declared (whichever is shorter)
  • have not visited an interstate exposure venue in the last 14 days unless an exemption has been granted for an end of life visit
  • have no COVID-19 symptoms of fever (37.5 degrees or more), cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, loss of smell or taste, runny nose, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting or fatigue.
  • can provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test in Queensland since returning from an interstate area of concern.

What happens if I have to work across multiple care facilities? If I am casual staff, will I lose my job?

Casual staff will not lose their jobs. It is recommended that disability accommodation services try to limit staff working across multiple care facilities wherever possible. This is to limit the potential spread of COVID-19 across facilities with vulnerable Queenslanders. If you work across multiple care facilities, you must:

I am a social housing provider/landlord of a disability accommodation service, but don’t provide the supports – do I need to enforce the Direction?

The Disability Accommodation Services Direction covers operators or owners who have day-to-day control or responsibility of the service, such as coordinating supports and visitors for residents.

It’s not intended that an operator of a service would include social housing providers or landlords, as they have no ownership or control of the service being provided.

Questions about the collection of contact information

Why do visitor, volunteer and contractor details have to be collected?

Disability accommodation services must collect contact information of visitors, volunteers and contractors using the Check In Qld app, unless an exception applies. This is so public health officials can contact individuals in the event of an outbreak of COVID-19 in Queensland.

Exceptions to using the Check In Qld app includes not requesting information from:

  • a person entering in an emergency to provide emergency services
  • a child under the age of 16 years who is not accompanied by a responsible adult
  • a person based on compassionate grounds or if it may pose a risk to a person’s safety.

How will visitor, volunteer and contractor details be collected? What is the responsibility of an individual?

The operator of a disability accommodation service must collect contact information by requesting visitors, volunteers and contractors use the Check In Qld app. If this can’t be done because the individual is unable to use the app – for example, because of age, disability or language barriers, or they do not have access to the app – the operator must register them through the Business Profile of the app. The Check In Qld app QR code must also be displayed at all entries to the facility.

All visitors, volunteers and contractors are responsible for providing their contact information by using the Check In Qld app upon entry to a facility, unless an exception applies. A person accompanying a person who is unable to use the app is also permitted to check in that person on their behalf.

What if contact details can’t be collected using the Check In Qld app?

If contact information can’t be collected using the Check In Qld app due to issues with the Check In Qld app or no mobile data connection, facilities must collect this information using another electronic or paper-based method.

For each visitor, this information must include:

  • name
  • phone number
  • email address (residential address if unavailable)
  • date and time period of the visit.

Facilities must use best endeavours to transfer this information to an electronic system within 24 hours and comply with the requirements for collection and storage. If asked, this information must be provided to a public health officer within the stated time.

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Questions and requests for exemptions

If you are seeking clarification on a Direction or have any questions, please call 134 COVID (13 42 68).

You can apply for an exemption to a Direction online.