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Disability Accommodation Services

Disability Accommodation Services Direction (No. 12)

What’s changed from 15 January 2021

  • You do not need an exemption from the Chief Health Officer to enter a disability accommodation service for an end of life visit if you have been in Greater Brisbane since 2 January 2020.
  • You still need an exemption for an end of life visit if you have been overseas or in a hotspot in the last 14 days.

What’s changed from 14 January 2021

  • People who have been in Victoria on or after 21 December 2020 may now visit a disability accommodation service. Employees, contractors and other persons necessary for the operation of the facility no longer need to provide a negative COVID-19 test before entry.
  • All visitors must not have any COVID-19 symptoms and comply with all other restrictions of the facility.

What’s changed from 6pm AEST 11 January 2021

  • Despite these restrictions, you may enter a disability accommodation service if you wear a single use surgical face mask and are:
    • an employee, contractor, or student of the service
    • providing goods or services necessary for the service’s operation
    • providing health, medical, personal care 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
    • maintaining continuity of care for a resident that can’t be delivered by non-contact means – with permission of the service’s operator
    • attending for an end of life visit.
  • Anyone providing direct care (including staff, volunteers or family members) must wear appropriate PPE as outlined in Queensland Health’s Residential Aged Care facility and Disability Accommodation PPE Guidance (PDF).

Restricted disability accommodation service facilities

These restrictions include:

Visitors

  • Only people providing an essential purpose will be allowed to enter
  • End of life visits are allowed
  • Anyone entering a facility must wear a single use surgical face mask. You may wear a face shield instead of a face mask in limited situations.

Staff

For shared disability accommodation services located in all other regions 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 been tested for COVID-19 and are waiting for the result (except for tests due to surveillance testing obligations)
  • has COVID-19 symptoms (Opens in new window) 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
  • has been in Greater Brisbane on or after 2 January 2021, unless 14 days have passed since the person left Greater Brisbane or they are:
    • an employee, contractor or student of the service
    • providing goods or services necessary for the service’s operation
    • providing health, medical, therapeutic, social work, essential disability support or pharmaceutical services to a resident
    • required for emergency management, police, and people carrying out a function or power of a government agency
    • a prospective resident or a support person of a prospective resident
    • providing behavioural, emotional or social support (including advocacy services) to a resident that can’t be delivered by non-contact means – with permission of the service’s operator
    • attending for an end of life visit.

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
  • follow requests from the service to help keep staff and residents safe.

For full details read the Disability Accommodation Services Direction (No. 12).

Questions and Answers about this Direction

Questions about restricted disability accommodation services

What Local Government Areas are restricted?

Local Government Areas where restrictions apply to disability accommodation services are listed on the Queensland Government website. The restrictions will apply within the Metro North, Metro South and West Moreton Hospital and Health Service regions which include the following Local Government Areas:

  • City of Brisbane
  • City of Ipswich
  • Lockyer Valley Region
  • Logan City
  • Moreton Bay Region
  • Redland City
  • Scenic Rim Region
  • Somerset Region.

Increased restrictions apply to disability accommodation services in restricted Local Government Areas.

How do I find out whether a disability accommodation service is in a restricted Local Government Area?

You can search the address of a disability accommodation service here to find out if it is within one of the listed Local Government Areas.

Questions about visiting a restricted Queensland disability accommodation service

Who can enter a disability accommodation service in a restricted local government area?

To protect our most vulnerable, the ONLY people who can enter a shared disability accommodation service located in the listed Local Government Areas are:

  • disability accommodation service staff (including administration staff, cleaners, tradesman, gardeners and maintenance)
  • volunteers
  • persons delivering goods and services (including food deliveries)
  • health care workers (including doctors, nurses, allied health, pathology and pharmaceutical staff)
  • people an operator of a disability accommodation service has approved as necessary to enter to provide support to a resident
  • people providing essential disability support
  • people providing social work services
  • emergency workers, police and people carrying out a function or power of a government agency or entity
  • a visitor who is providing end-of-life support
  • students under the supervision of an employee or contractor.

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

  • 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 been tested for COVID-19 and is 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
  • has been in Greater Brisbane on or after 2 January 2021, unless 14 days have passed since the person left Greater Brisbane

Anyone entering a disability accommodation in the listed Local Government Areas must wear a single use surgical mask.

You may wear a face shield instead of a mask:

  • if wearing a mask will cause distress to a resident
  • If the visibility of your mouth is essential for communication with a resident.

Additional guidance about the use of face shields is available in the Pandemic Response Guidance: Personal protective equipment in Residential Aged Care and Disability Accommodation Services (PDF)

Can I visit a loved one in a restricted disability accommodation service?

No personal visitors are allowed to visit disability accommodation services located in the listed Local Government Areas. While we understand that this places a great strain on many families who have loved ones in these services, the protection and welfare of people in these services is a priority. The only exceptions are a personal visit to a resident at the service who is at their end-of-life, or to provide behavioural, emotional or social support (including advocacy services) to a resident that cannot be delivered by non-contact means and has been approved by the operator of the facility.

Can a resident of a disability accommodation service leave the service?

A resident may leave the service for any reason. However, residents should exercise caution when out in the community particularly restricted areas. This means:

  • keep at least 1.5 metres away from other people (two big steps)
  • wash your hands regularly with soap and water or use alcohol-based sanitiser
  • avoid hugs, kisses and handshakes.
  • if in Greater Brisbane, the resident should also comply with the mask wearing requirements when leaving the service, unless it is unsafe for the resident to wear a mask due to their disability

What should I do when I enter a disability accommodation service to work, volunteer, or to provide end-of-life support?

You should:

  • stay for a short time in the resident’s room or outside
  • avoid communal spaces
  • make sure the resident has no more than two visitors at a time, including doctors
  • wash your hands before entering and leaving the service
  • stay 1.5 metres away from residents where possible
  • stay away when unwell
  • wear a singe use surgical face mask or face shield.

My loved one doesn’t understand what’s happening.

Talk to the disability accommodation service and discuss ways you can safely support your loved one

Questions about face masks

When should I wear a mask?

Anyone entering a restricted disability accommodation service is required to wear a single use surgical mask at all times. In limited situations, you may use a face shield. A face shield may be used:

  • if wearing a mask will cause distress to a resident
  • If the visibility of your mouth is essential for communication with a resident

Why do I have to wear a face mask if I visit a restricted disability accommodation service?

Wearing a face mask at a disability accommodation service is another measure to help protect the more vulnerable Queenslanders from the potential spread of COVID-19. The face mask will help to stop any germs that you may be carrying from being passed onto residents and staff in the accommodation service. You will not be permitted to enter a disability accommodation service without a face mask.

You may wear a face shield instead of a mask:

  • if wearing a mask will cause distress to a resident
  • If the visibility of your mouth is essential for communication with a resident

Will the disability accommodation service provide a face mask or do I have to bring my own?

You are responsible for providing your own mask when entering a disability accommodation service. Masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) will only be provided to staff and volunteers.

Do I have to wear any other PPE?

Essential visitors to restricted disability accommodation services are all required to wear a single use surgical face mask.

Employees, contractors, students and volunteers who work across different care facilities must wear single use surgical masks and change masks between facilities. Additional guidance about recommended PPE use is available in the Pandemic Response Guidance Personal protective equipment in Residential Aged Care and Disability accommodation services (PDF).

Why can’t I wear a reusable masks?

Single use surgical masks are designed for medical settings and are most applicable for health care scenarios. Re-using a cloth mask without washing it between residents is risky, because it can become contaminated and may not be as effective in protecting you or residents.

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.

Questions about Greater Brisbane restrictions

I have been in Greater Brisbane, can I enter a disability accommodation service?

Anyone who has been in Greater Brisbane on or after 2 January 2021, unless 14 days have passed since the person left Greater Brisbane, must not enter a disability accommodation service in Queensland.

  • Greater Brisbane includes:
    • City of Brisbane
    • City of Ipswich
    • Logan City
    • Moreton Bay Region
    • Redland City

You may only enter a disability accommodation service if you wear a single use surgical face mask and are:

  • an employee, contractor, or student of the service
  • providing goods or services necessary for the service’s operation
  • providing health, medical, personal care, pharmaceutical or pathology testing 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 (including advocacy services) to a resident that cannot be delivered by non-contact means – with permission of the facilities operator
  • attending for an end of life visit.

Anyone providing direct care (including staff, volunteers or family members) must wear appropriate PPE as outlined in Queensland Health’s Residential Aged Care facility and Disability Accommodation PPE Guidance (Opens in new window)(PDF)

Questions about visiting a non-restricted Queensland disability accommodation service

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)
  • 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 been tested for COVID-19 and are waiting for the result (except for tests due to surveillance testing obligations)
  • has COVID-19 symptoms (Opens in new window) (Opens in new window) (Opens in new window) 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
  • has been in a Greater Brisbane on or after 2 January 2021 unless 14 days have passed since the person left Greater Brisbane or they are:
    • an employee, contractor or student of the facility
    • providing goods or services necessary for the facility’s operation
    • providing health, medical, therapeutic, social work, essential disability support, pharmaceutical or pathology services to a resident
    • required for emergency management, law enforcement or to comply with an order of any court or tribunal of Australia
    • a prospective resident or a support person of a prospective resident
    • attending for an end of life visit
    • providing behavioural, emotional or social support (including advocacy services) to a resident that cannot be delivered by non-contact means – with permission of the facility’s operator.

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

Visitors can enter a facility if they have been in a safe travel zone country in the past 14 days. Currently only New Zealand is a safe travel zone country. Visitors who have been in any other overseas destination must be granted an exemption by the Chief Health Officer.

Anyone who has been:

  • in a COVID-19 hotspot in the last 14 days or since the hotspot was declared (whichever is shorter); or
  • overseas in the last 14 days; or

must be granted an exemption by the Chief Health Officer. This applies to both restricted and non-restricted facilities. 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.

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.

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 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 $1,334 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.

Questions about staff

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.

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 minimum of 30 days and a maximum 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:

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