Learn about COVID-19, staying well and what to do if you or your carer becomes sick.
Coronavirus and my disability support
Hi. I’m Paige.
At Queenslanders with Disability Network, QDN, we know that people with disability are hearing lots of news and information about Coronavirus also known as COVID-19. We know that this is causing worry and anxiety and people are feeling confused and anxious.
Everyone has different needs and different circumstances. Many people have support needs that mean we need to have contact with other people. For those people, those support needs are essential for their day to day lives.
Government, providers and people with disability in Queensland are working together to put arrangements in place so that people can get the essential supports they need. It is good for us all to be talking to our family, friends, neighbours and service providers about what we can do to help each other out.
If you and your support workers are well – then you don’t need to cancel the support you need. Everyone needs to follow the guidelines about washing hands, covering sneezes and coughs and avoiding unnecessary close contact with each other. No hugs, handshakes or kisses.
If you feel unwell and have symptoms of coronavirus call your Doctor or call 13 Health. Their number is 13 43 25 84. If you are seriously unwell, call 000 for an ambulance.
If your paid support worker gets sick, call your service provider. If you are an NDIS participant and your service isn’t answering your call, call the NDIA.
The Community Recovery Hotline is now open to help people who have been told to stay at home and don’t have anyone to help them get essential food and medication. Their number is 1800 173 349.
Red Cross teams are also calling people who have been told to stay home in quarantine to make sure people are coping well and have what they need. Keep up to date with information on Queensland Health website www.health.qld.gov.au You can also call QDN on 1300 363 783. You can also go to QDN’s website www.qdn.org.au.
Think about essential supports you need and consider the services you can't live without. Talk to your service providers and health professionals to develop a plan to ensure your own personal health and safety over the coming months.
You can make your own ‘Emergency Preparedness Plan’ using the Queensland Disability Network’s individual planning tool for COVID-19, available in accessible formats. The plan will help you to prepare for staying at home for a long period of time, and prepare for what to do if you, or your carer, have COVID-19 symptoms.
If you are sick, stay home and if you have cold or flu like symptoms get tested. In Queensland anyone who has any COVID-19 symptoms should call their doctor or call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) to find out where to get a test.
What if I feel sick and need to be tested?
If you feel unwell, and have any COVID-19 symptoms, call your doctor or 13HEALTH (13 43 25 84) to ask what to do next. They might ask you to have a COVID-19 test.
If you have any of the following COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild, get tested:
Shortness of breath
Loss of smell and/or taste
Other symptoms people may experience include muscle or joint pain, diarrhoea, nausea and/or vomiting and loss of appetite.
Call emergency services on 000 if you are very sick.
You are still allowed to go into the community at this time and this may involve the following: attending medical treatment, exercising, meeting a friend for a coffee and going out to work. It’s important to look after yourself as per usual. Please remember to socially distance when outside, try to leave a gap of 1.5 metres between you and others where possible and avoid public gatherings.
There are rules that limit gatherings in the community to a maximum of 10 people. To find out the latest information, check the Queensland Government website.
Some people with disability may still choose to stay at home as much as possible to protect themselves. If you need advice and support to help you plan your stay at home:
read this fact sheet (PDF) to find out more about staying at home during COVID-19
What if I am entering Queensland and need support to quarantine?
If you are entering Queensland from overseas or a COVID-19 hotspot, you are required to quarantine. If you have specific health care needs, the specialist COVID-19 Health care Support Service can help you and is supported by nurses, doctors, social worker, paramedics and representatives from other Queensland government departments.
To access the Health care Support Service, call 134 COVID (13 42 68) and select option 3.
Can I get medical help or order prescriptions from home?
If you stop your regular health care services and appointments, you are more at risk of getting sick.
Phone and video calls can now replace some face-to-face appointments. Please call your doctor or other healthcare professionals to discuss your options.
The Australian Government has also provided funding to get your medicines delivered to your home from your regular pharmacy. For more information read the Home Medicines Service (PDF).
You can also use the Julian’s Key Health Passport, a tool to communicate your healthcare and support needs with health staff when you attend a hospital.
A trial of Julian’s Key is taking place in Logan and Ipswich Hospitals, but the Passport can be used in any hospital. However, if you use it in a hospital not involved in the trial, health staff might not know about the tool. You might need to explain its purpose to them.
Put chairs in shared areas 1.5 metres apart. Limit the time people are together in one space.
Think about where you spend most of your time in the house and your daily activity. Plan with the people you live with how you can keep safe distances from each other.
Plan how to keep surfaces clean. Support each other with meal preparation, laundry and house cleaning. Read and print these 3 steps (PDF) for household cleaning.
What to do if your support person gets sick?
If your support person feels unwell, they should call a doctor or 13 HEALTH (13 43 25) to ask what to do next.
Your support person will not be able to work while they are waiting for their test results – this could take a few days. During this time, your support person should arrange for someone else to meet your support needs. You can also call your service provider to discuss what your options are.
The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) have made changes to how people with a NDIS plan can access support. Visit the NDIS website or call the NDIA on 1800 800 110.
If you don’t have a regular service provider, call the Community Recovery Hotline on 1800 173 349.
There may be times when you feel worried, scared or upset about COVID-19. This is normal. You may also feel isolated if you are spending less time with family, friends or your support network. Now, more than ever, it’s important to look after your mental wellbeing.
Beyond Blue has trained counsellors available to offer you support 24/7. Visit the website or call 1800 512 348.