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Disability Accommodation Services

Overview

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

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

  • is unwell
  • has been diagnosed with COVID-19
  • is in home quarantine, unless granted an exemption
  • has returned from overseas in the last 14 days (excluding safe travel zone countries), unless granted an exemption
  • has been in a restricted area in the last 14 days, unless the person works at the accommodation service or another exemption applies
  • lives in the same household as someone who has been in a restricted area in the last 14 days, unless the person works at the accommodation service or another exemption applies
  • is a close or secondary contact of a person with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, unless their quarantine period has ended
  • is unvaccinated and not visiting  for a permitted purpose. Permitted purposes include:
    • under 16 years of age; or
    • unable to receive a COVID-19 vaccination because of a medical contraindication and has evidence of a recognised medical contraindication; or
    • is a COVID-19 vaccine trial participant, and receipt of a Therapeutic Goods Administration approved COVID-19 vaccine would impact the validity of the trial. The medical certificate must not have expired.
    • visiting a resident of shared disability accommodation service for one of the following purposes:
      • end of life visit; or
      • in an emergency
      • a parent, carer, guardian or other responsible adult who is accompanying a resident; or
      • a carer or support person who provides assistance or other caring responsibilities, including advocacy services, to the person who is a resident; or.
    • is permitted to enter as an unvaccinated worker in healthcare under the Workers in a Healthcare Setting (COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements) Direction.
  • has had a COVID-19 PCR test 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.

Students

From 11 November 2021, a student cannot enter a shared disability accommodation service for placement, unless they are fully vaccinated.

What does fully vaccinated mean?

Fully vaccinated means a person has had the required two doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine by 15 December 2021. It does not include a booster shot or a two- week wait after the second dose.

If you are already required to be vaccinated by an earlier date under another public health direction or the Health Employment Directive, you must be vaccinated by the earlier date.

Where to get a proof of vaccination?

All staff, students, volunteers, contractors and other workers must show their proof of vaccination or evidence of contraindication to their employer at the healthcare facility for recording purposes.

There are 3 different types of proof available that you can get for free:

  • a COVID-19 digital certificate
  • your immunisation history statement (IHS)
  • an International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate for overseas travel.

The COVID-19 Digital Certificate or IHS can be viewed and/or printed through:

What is an evidence of medical contraindication and where to get it?

This is a medical certificate stating that a person is exempted from getting a COVID-19 vaccination due to a medical contraindication.

An eligible healthcare professional is required to complete the medical exemption form and record this on the Australian Immunisation Register for any person who cannot get the COVID-19 vaccination.

A person can get this medical exemption certificate by downloading it from the Australian Immunisation Register.

For more information

Disability Accommodation Services Direction (No. 27)

Questions and answers about this Direction

Questions about visiting a Queensland disability accommodation service

Can I visit someone who is near their end of life in a disability accommodation service if I am unvaccinated?

Visitors who are unvaccinated 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.

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.

What is a shared disability accommodation service and how are the requirements different? Is short-term accommodation included?

Shared disability accommodation services are considered healthcare settings under the Direction. This means that all workers, contractors, and volunteers must be vaccinated to enter.

Short term accommodation with 4 or more residents are considered shared disability accommodation services. It does not matter if the resident is permanent or temporary.

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.

What is a vaccinated student?

Only vaccinated students on placement (including paramedicine students) are allowed to enter disability accommodation services.

Students cannot enter disability accommodation services for a placement connected to their enrolled course of study unless they are vaccinated against COVID-19.

A vaccinated student is a student who:

  • in connection with an enrolled course of study (with any education provider), is completing a placement under the supervision of an employee or contractor at a disability accommodation service; or
  • is entering a disability accommodation service as part of a placement; and
  • has received the prescribed number of doses of a COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in Australia by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, or two doses of another COVID vaccine endorsed by WHO-COVAX if the vaccine was received overseas.

Students who are not vaccinated, including due to medical reasons, cannot enter a disability accommodation service as part of their placement.

Students that are not fully vaccinated can still enter a disability accommodation service for personal reasons:

  • for an end of life visit
  • as a support person of a prospective resident.

From 11 November 2021, a student cannot enter a shared disability accommodation service for placement unless they are fully vaccinated.

Why do only students need to have received the COVID-19 vaccine to enter a disability accommodation service?

In Queensland our approach has always been to restrict access to vulnerable facilities when there is evidence of community transmission. Ensuring students entering disability accommodation services as part of their placements are fully vaccinated is another measure we are putting in place to protect the most vulnerable in our community during times of heightened risk.

Unlike employees and contractors of disability accommodation services, whose work is essential to ensuring the health and wellbeing of residents, students undertaking a placement can have their placement delayed without putting residents at risk.

Are students allowed to undertake a placement at disability accommodation services?

Students may only undertake a placement at a disability accommodation service, where they are under the supervision of an employee or contractor.

All requirements that apply to staff and contractors also apply to students, including:

  • notifying the disability accommodation service if they have another care facility workplace
  • wearing appropriate PPE if they work across multiple care facilities.
  • Students cannot enter disability accommodation services for a placement connected to their enrolled course of study, unless they are vaccinated against COVID-19.

Facilities may also impose their own additional requirements on students.

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.

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

Are healthcare workers considered to be close contacts?

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 and service providers

I have received a negative COVID-19 test, when can I return to work/study/volunteer/support at a disability accommodation service?

You may enter a disability accommodation service 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.

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.

Do I need to be vaccinated if I only provide online disability support services? Can I change my service delivery to online if I am not vaccinated but want to continue working?

Vaccination is not mandatory if you are not delivering in-person support and don’t work in a healthcare setting. Some workers delivering online services will need to be vaccinated due to their professional registration (e.g. AHPRA or self-regulated allied health professionals).

Workers that choose not to be vaccinated can continue, or transition to, delivering support online. It is important to ensure that the quality of service for the person with disability is not impacted and the person consents to receive an online-only support.

How do we report non-compliance with the Direction if a provider is aware that an independent contractor is delivering services while unvaccinated?

For NDIS funded supports, consider contacting the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission. You can also call 134 COVID for advice.

Is there any financial support available?

Yes, the NDIS will provide the support provider with $100 per worker per dose that receive the vaccine between 10 November and the mandatory vaccination date of 15th December 2021. More information is available on the NDIS website.

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, proof of vaccination or vaccination exemption certificate 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, proof of vaccination or vaccination exemption certificate by requesting visitors, volunteers and contractors to 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.