Information for service providers
NDIS and disability services
The Queensland Government Department of Health and the Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors has released new information on supporting people with disability through the COVID-19 pandemic. The fact sheet Supporting people with disability through the COVID-19 pandemic provides guidance to disability service providers (including NDIS registered providers) and their employees, and carers and volunteers providing support to persons with disability.
Queensland COVID-19 restricted area directions
To protect our most vulnerable, the ONLY people who can enter a disability accommodation service located in the listed Local Government Areas are:
- disability accommodation service staff (including administration staff, cleaners, tradesman, gardeners and maintenance)
- persons delivering goods and services (including food deliveries)
- health care workers (including doctors, nurses, allied health and pharmaceutical staff)
- people the operator of a disability accommodation service has granted permission to enter to provide support to a resident
- people providing essential disability support
- emergency workers and police
- a visitor who is providing end-of-life support.
Disability accommodation service operators must make sure, as much as possible staff do not work across multiple disability accommodation services.
Anyone entering a disability accommodation service must wear a single-use face mask.
The Disability Accommodation Services Direction was updated on 26 August to include additional guidance. The Direction:
- Includes additional guidance to clarify that nothing in the Direction prevents a resident from leaving a service, however, operators should be encouraging residents to exercise caution when entering the community
- Allows a person to enter a restricted service to perform social work services
- Clarifies that a person who has or has had symptoms consistent with COVID-19 in the 14 days immediately preceding entry should not enter a service
- Allows a person with responsibility or authority to control access to a service to grant permission for a person to enter to provide behavioural, emotional, or social support. This change is to provide for situations where a residential setting does not have an operator (for example supported independent living homes with four or more people with a disability) but there is still a need for discretion to receive necessary visits from people such as disability advocates
- Provides more clarification about the scope of shared disability accommodation services that the Direction applies to.
The Disability Accommodation Services Direction (No. 3) commenced on 31 August 2020. This is an update to the Direction to:
- Allow students who are under the supervision of an employee or contractor to enter a restricted shared disability accommodation service.
- Require that people who have a temperature of 37.5 degrees or more, or symptoms consistent with COVID-19, cannot enter a disability accommodation service.
- Provide that operators of restricted disability accommodation services should ensure staff, contractors and volunteers do not work across multiple care facilities, where possible. Care facilities include but are not limited to hospitals, retirement villages and residential aged care facilities.
Updates for Queensland disability providers
NDS invites Disability Service Providers to hear directly from leading professionals from Queensland Health, the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission and peak bodies regarding the evolving pandemic requirements for this sector. Find out more and register.
Temporary changes to PPE under NDIS
In response to the Queensland Disability Accommodation Services Direction, changes have been announced to the NDIS that extend the temporary PPE measures already in place in Victoria and New South Wales to Queensland. The temporary changes will apply in restricted areas of Queensland and allow:
- NDIS participants to claim the cost of personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, for use when a worker is with them
- NDIS providers to directly claim the costs of PPE for workers from the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).
NDIS participants in restricted areas of Queensland who rely on face-to-face supports and assistance with their daily living will be able to use an existing support item (Low-Cost Disability-Related Health Consumables) to claim on the cost of PPE for their own use at times their worker is with them.
The changes will also enable providers in restricted areas of Queensland to claim an allowance of $1.70 per hour of support delivered in the Activities of Daily Life Support Category, to cover the cost of PPE for workers, directly from the NDIA. This will ensure participant plan funds are not impacted by the use of PPE by their providers and workers.
Providers will be able to claim for costs that they have incurred for delivering daily living supports since the new Disability Accommodation Services Public Health Direction came into effect at 8:00am on 22 August 2020.
The Australian Government Department of Health’s video, Coronavirus (COVID-19): Wearing personal protective equipment for disability workers, explains how and when disability support workers should use PPE.
The NDIS Commission has released a fact sheet How NDIS participants can expect their providers to prepare for a COVID-19 outbreak in a residential setting
New measures have been introduced for NDIS participants and providers including:
- NDIS plans to be extended by up to 24 months, ensuring continuity of support and increasing capacity of NDIA staff to focus on urgent and required changes to plans
- Face to face planning shifted to telephone meetings where possible
- Action plan to ensure NDIS participants and their families continue to receive the essential disability supports they need.
- Proactive outreach to high-risk participants and sharing of data with states and territories to ensure continuity of supports.
- Financial outreach to providers to support retention of workers including advance payments, 10 per cent COVID-19 loading on some supports and changes to cancellation policies.
Eligible participants will be able to flexibly use existing NDIS plan funding to purchase low-cost Assistive Technology, including smart devices, to enable continued access to disability supports through telehealth and telepractice while physical distancing regulations are in place for coronavirus pandemic. This new development is important for ensuring NDIS participants remain connected to their services and disability supports.
Also, new support items for Supported Independent Living (SIL) providers are now available where a participant has been diagnosed with the coronavirus, including higher intensity support and professional cleaning services. This is to ensure minimum service disruption and the continued delivery of services.
To ensure all eligible Australians continue to be able to apply for access to the NDIS, downloadable Access Request and Supporting Evidence Forms are now available on the NDIS website.
The number of face-to-face meetings with NDIS participants is being reduced in line with the Australian Government’s advice in the coronavirus (COVID-19) national health response plan. However, face-to-face services are still available.
Easy read information
NDIA has published Easy Read information relating to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Council for Intellectual Disability has developed easy read health information including a guide on viruses and staying healthy, which may be helpful to share with participants. Similarly, Access Easy English offers a wide range of easy read resources.
Planning tools for people with disability
The Queenslanders with Disability Network, working with the University of Sydney and Queensland Government, has developed practical tools and information to help people with disability develop their own Person-Centred Emergency Preparedness plans for dealing with COVID-19.
Translated COVID-19 resources
COVID-19 information – multilingual resources are useful for anyone supporting people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse backgrounds.
Queenslanders with Disability Network (QDN) resources
Queenslanders with Disability Network (QDN) are continuously updating their Information about Coronavirus (COVID-19) page.