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Disability Accommodation Services

Disability Accommodation Services Direction (No. 5)

What has changed from 1am 3 November 2020?

  • The list of symptoms consistent with COVID-19 that will stop someone from entering a disability accommodation service has been updated
  • If you are waiting for a COVID-19 test result you will not be allowed to enter a disability accommodation service
  • Clarify that you can apply for an exemption to visit someone who is near their end of life if you have been overseas or in a COVID-19 hotspot, with the permission of the operator.

Overview

Any person may enter a disability accommodation service, including to visit a resident.

However, you should not enter a disability accommodation service if you have:

  • returned from overseas in the last 14 days
  • had contact with a person with COVID-19 in the last 14 days
  • travelled to a COVID-19 hotspot in the last 14 days
  • been tested for COVID-19 and are waiting for the result
  • COVID-19 symptoms of fever (37.5 degrees or more), cough, breathing difficulties, 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 your hands before entering and leaving the facility
  • stay 1.5 metres away from residents where possible
  • stay away when unwell
  • follow requests from the accommodation service to help keep staff and residents safe.

For full details read the Disability Accommodation Services Direction (No. 5).

Questions and Answers about this Direction

Questions about visiting Disability Accommodation Services

Who can visit a disability accommodation service?

Any person may visit residents in disability accommodation services unless you have:

  • returned from overseas in the last 14 days
  • had contact with a person with COVID-19 in the last 14 days
  • visited a COVID-19 hotspot in the last 14 days
  • been tested for COVID-19 and are waiting for the result
  • COVID-19 symptoms of fever (37.5 degrees or more), cough, breathing difficulties, sore throat, loss of smell or taste, runny nose, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting or fatigue.

Can I visit someone who is near their end of life in a disability accommodation service in Queensland if I have been overseas or in a COVID-19 hotspot in the last 14 days?

You must have been granted an exemption by the Chief Health Officer. If you wish to visit the person before your 14 days quarantine has ended you will also need to be granted an exemption to leave and return to quarantine. You must comply with all the conditions given under the exemption.

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

  • the service 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.

Restrictions for all disability accommodation services

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 common area?

A common area includes shared living spaces like kitchens, bathrooms and living rooms where people congregate for longer periods of time. Common 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 border closures, 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 $1,334 for individuals and $6,670 for corporations, a court-imposed penalty of up to $13,345 or 6 months' imprisonment.

What happens if there is a spike of COVID-19 cases in the community?

If there is a spike in cases in the community, the disability accommodation service may need to limit when residents can leave the facility and restrict visitors such as hairdressers or allied health professionals. These measures will be needed to protect the health of our most vulnerable.

Collection of contact information – operators of disability accommodation services

Why do I have to collect the contact information of visitors?

When a person is diagnosed with COVID-19, the local public health unit commences contact tracing. Public health officers will assess the movements of the person with COVID-19 while they were infectious and determine who in community are considered ‘close contacts’.

That’s why it’s important to provide accurate and legible contact information, so we can contact you if you are affected, helping us respond quickly and effectively to the spread of COVID-19 in the community, and to minimize potential for you to spread the disease to others.

Who needs to provide contact information?

All visitors to disability accommodation services need to provide contact information. This includes visitors, volunteers, contractors and registered NDIS providers. It does not include employees of the service.

What contact information do I have to collect?

A person operates a disability accommodation service must keep contact information about all visitors, including contractors and volunteers, for contact tracing purposes for a period of 56 days. If asked, this information must be provided to public health officers within the stated time.

For each visitor, this information must include:

  • Full name
  • Phone number
  • Email address (residential address if unavailable)
  • Date and time period of the visit