fbpx

Accessibility Tools

Senior woman wearing a mask

Advice is available on the NSW Government Health website regarding disability support, aged care and home care providers and was updated as of 16 December.

The response to the COVID-19 pandemic in NSW has disrupted our ability to move around and gather together at different times. It has meant a significant change in the way we live and how we engage with each other.

It has also meant that services have been disrupted at times - including services to people with disability, such as:

  • disability residential accommodation
  • respite accommodation services
  • employment - including Australian Disability Enterprises (ADE)
  • education and training
  • day programs
  • public transport and disability-specific travel services
  • disability supports at home
  • other disability services such as disability-related or other health supports, access to the community, attendance at medical and other appointments etc.

Because of the nature of their disability and other medical history, some people with disability are more vulnerable to serious complications if they become ill with COVID-19.

It is essential that transmission of the SARS-Cov-2 virus is minimised to prevent illness in the general community, including people with disability. The strategies to reduce transmission include enhanced infection prevention and control procedures.

NSW Health wishes to acknowledge the significant efforts of disability support providers to reduce the risk of COVID-19 for their residents/clients.


 
Skip to: Day programsResidential Disability Care Facilities | Disability Service Providers |  Home Care Service Providers

Disability Service Providers

People who provide a disability service will need to be vaccinated by 29 November 2021.

This includes people who:

  • work in residential disability care
  • provide in-home disability services
  • provide disability day programs
  • provide community-based disability support services
  • any person providing services funded or provided by:
    • the National Disability Insurance Scheme
    • the Assisted School Travel Program.

The vaccination requirement in the Public Health Order includes staff and volunteers (including those in administrative or corporate roles) who work on site at disability services or other services delivering disability supports to people with disabilities.

Workers will need to provide proof of vaccination to their employer if requested.

Any employees who do not meet the requirements from the date the Public Health Orders apply will not be permitted to continue in their role. If you do not meet the COVID-19 vaccination requirement and do not have an approved medical contraindication on the date it applies, then you cannot continue to provide disability services. For more information refer to Advice to residential disability care facilities or speak to your manager.

You can help disability services return to normal by getting vaccinated if you haven't already, and by helping those around you get vaccinated.

Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs) should ensure that they keep up to date with the latest COVID-19 Rules, including rules applying to movement of workers, as the information may change at short notice.

If you require advice, please contact:

  • Service NSW 24 hours, 7 days a week on 13 77 88
  • the national coronavirus and COVID-19 vaccine helpline on 1800 020 080 (24/7)
  • the Coronavirus Disability Information Helpline on 1800 643 787

If you require advice on anything related to the vaccine rollout contact Commonwealth COVID- 19 Taskforce - Disability on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Advice for Residential Disability Care providers and Home Care service providers as of 15 December 2021

The advice by NSW Health Public Health Response Branch for residential disability care providers and home care service providers was Updated on 15 December 2021 on the NSW Health Disability Support Providers website.

The Australian Government has accepted the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation’s (ATAGI) recommendation to shorten the interval between a second dose COVID-19 vaccination and booster dose from six to five months.

Given the likelihood of ongoing transmission of both Omicron and Delta variants, ATAGI recommends anyone aged 18 and older receive their COVID-19 booster vaccination five months after their second dose vaccination.

ATAGI notes that timely receipt of a booster dose is particularly important for people with increased exposure risk (e.g. occupational risk or outbreak areas) or who have risk factors for severe disease. This applies to people who receive and who deliver aged care services in home and community settings.

You can read ATAGI’s statement on the Omicron variant and timing of COVID-19 booster vaccination.

You can read the media release issued by the Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, on COVID-19 boosters to be available from five months.

Either Comirnaty (Pfizer) or Spikevax (Moderna) are recommended for use as a booster vaccine, and are considered equally acceptable, regardless of which vaccine you received for your primary course.

All in-home and community aged care providers are strongly encouraged to ensure their workforce and care recipients are aware of the change in eligibility for booster doses to five months, and to promote awareness of how people can access a booster dose at GPs, pharmacies and state and territory vaccination clinics.

Booster dose appointments can be made via the COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Finder.


Advice to residential disability care facilities (RDCF)

As of 30 November 2021

  • A person who provides disability services must be fully vaccinated by 29 November 2021.
  • Residents are permitted to have 2 fully vaccinated people aged 12 years and over plus 2 children aged under 12 visit them within a 24-hour period.
  • Disability day programs are permitted to operate in line with the directions in the Public Health (COVID-19 General) Order 2021 and by practising COVID safe measures.

Disability day programs

Disability day programs are permitted to operate but must align with the directions in the Public Health (COVID-19 General) Order 2021 (Order) 

In arranging activities, day program providers should maintain COVID-19 safe practices including:

  • encouraging all residents, staff and volunteers to be fully vaccinated
  • ensuring everyone wears a mask when indoors, unless they are exempted
  • encouraging regular use of alcohol-based hand sanitiser
  • maintaining a distance of at least 1.5 meters from other people
  • have COVID-19 safety plans in place

Staff and participants should not attend if they have any COVID-19 symptoms

Where participants are not fully vaccinated, providers are encouraged to continue to provide flexible options including online service delivery, individual activities and avoid group interactions unless the participants are from the same household.

Visitors

Visitation at a residential disability care facility is permitted with the following conditions:

Visitors must have proof of vaccination or a medical exemption

Visitors must not enter the facility at all if they:

  • have COVID-19 symptoms,
  • are a close or casual contact of a person with confirmed COVID-19, unless they have completed their isolation and testing requirements,
  • are waiting for a COVID-19 test result,
  • have been to an overseas country of concern in the last 14 days

  • have been to other overseas countries (not of concern) in the previous 14 days, unless they are:
    • fully vaccinated and have received a negative PCR test 7 days or later after arrival in NSW

Please read Exceptional circumstances for visiting an RDCF.

Residents

Residents are permitted to leave the facility to exercise, for recreational activities or to attend small family gatherings provided they adhere to the restrictions within the  Public Health (COVID-19 General) Order 2021 (the Order).

Residents should not leave the facility if they have COVID-19 symptoms until they have been tested and have received a negative result.

There are directions in the Order relating to vaccination requirements including that all people aged 16 years and over must be fully vaccinated to visit:

  • hospitality venues such as a café or restaurant,
  • cinemas,
  • group classes and activities at recreation facilities,
  • retail outlets (not including essential services such as a supermarket or pharmacy)

Residents must wear a mask at indoor venues and when on public transport.

All facilities must ensure that residents are provided with appropriate personal protective equipment, infection control and mask wearing advice if they need to leave the facility. See the latest face mask rules

If a person cannot wear a face mask because of a disability, physical or mental health illness or condition, they must carry either:

  • a medical certificate or letter signed by a registered health practitioner (such as a doctor) or a registered NDIS provider or
  • a statutory declaration.

Staff

All facilities located in NSW must ensure that all staff wear a surgical mask. For reasons when masks can be removed please see Additional Advice.

Staff must not enter the facility at all if they:

  • are a close contact of a person with confirmed COVID-19 in the last 14 days,
  • are a casual contact of a person with confirmed COVID-19 and have not returned at least one negative PCR test,
  • are unable to provide evidence of having received a COVID-19 vaccine as per the Public Health (COVID-19 Care Services) Order 2021. On very rare occasions, there may be a medical contraindication to COVID-19 vaccination. A COVID-19 medical contraindication certificate is required in this circumstance.
  • have COVID-19 symptoms;
  • are waiting for a COVID-19 test result
  • have been to an overseas country of concern in the last 14 days 
  • have been to other overseas countries (not of concern) in the previous 14 days, unless they are fully vaccinated and have received a negative PCR test 7 days or later after their arrival

  • are a staff member living with a person identified as a close contact, unless the facility has assessed that the staff member is essential and has put in place measures to minimise the risk.

Please refer to the NSW Government website for further information on NSW rules and restrictions.

For advice on essential staff who are necessary for operational purposes please see the advice on Exceptional circumstances for visiting a RDCF 

 Please read Additional information for residential disability care facilities (RDCF) for guidance on:

  • new and returning residents
  • exceptional circumstances
  • additional COVID-19 measures for staff and facilities
  • masks
  • assistance
  • further advice
  • additional resources
 
 
Current as at: Tuesday 30 November 2021
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW
 

Commencing disability day programs

On 11 October 2021 the Public Health (COVID-19 General) Order 2021 (Order) commenced, lifting the stay at home orders for all of NSW. In line with the new Order, disability day programs may recommence across all of NSW.

In arranging activities, day program providers should maintain COVID-19 safe practices including:

    • encouraging all residents, staff and volunteers to be fully vaccinated
    • ensuring everyone wears a mask when indoors, unless they are exempted
    • encouraging regular use of alcohol-based hand sanitiser
    • maintaining a distance of at least 1.5 meters from other people

Visitors

From 11 October 2021 visitation at a residential disability care facility will be permitted with the following conditions:

  • Two visitors aged 16 years and over per resident per day
  • All visitors aged 16 years and over must be fully vaccinated (unless in exceptional circumstances for visiting an RDCF)
  • All residents (aged 16 years and over) receiving a visitor must be fully vaccinated

Visitors must have proof of vaccination or a medical exemption

Visitors must not enter the facility at all if they:

Please read Exceptional circumstances for visiting an RDCF.

Residents

Residents are permitted to leave the facility to exercise, for recreational activities or to attend small family gatherings provided they adhere to the restrictions within the  Public Health (COVID-19 General) Order 2021 (the Order).

There are directions in the Order relating to vaccination requirements including that all people aged 16 years and over must be fully vaccinated to visit:

  • hospitality venues such as a café or restaurant,
  • cinemas,
  • group classes and activities at recreation facilities,
  • retail outlets such as shopping centres (not including essential services such as a supermarket or pharmacy)

Residents must wear a mask at indoor venues and when on public transport

All facilities must ensure that residents are provided with appropriate PPE and infection control advice if they need to leave the facility. If a person cannot wear a face mask because of a disability, physical or mental health illness or condition, they must carry either;

  • a medical certificate or letter signed by a registered health practitioner (such as a doctor) or a registered NDIS provider or
  • a statutory declaration.

Staff

All facilities located in NSW must ensure that all staff wear a surgical mask. For reasons when masks can be removed please see Additional Advice.

Staff must not enter the facility at all if they:

Please refer to the NSW Government website for further information on NSW rules and restrictions.

For advice on essential staff who are necessary for operational purposes please see the advice on Exceptional circumstances for visiting a RDCF 

Please read Additional information for residential disability care facilities (RDCF) for guidance on:

  • new and returning residents
  • exceptional circumstances
  • additional COVID-19 measures for staff and facilities
  • masks
  • assistance
  • further advice
  • additional resources
 
Current as at 10 October
Information Sourced From Health Protection NSW

This information can change rapidly, so; please check the web at least daily for updates.


Disability Service Providers

The response to the COVID-19 pandemic in NSW has disrupted our ability to move around and gather together at different times. It has meant a significant change in the way we live and how we engage with each other. It has also meant that services have been disrupted at times - including services to people with disabilities, such as:

  • disability residential accommodation
  • respite accommodation services
  • employment - including Australian Disability Enterprises (ADE)
  • education and training
  • day programs
  • public transport and disability-specific travel services
  • disability supports at home
  • other disability services such as disability-related or other health supports, access to the community, attendance at medical and other appointments etc.

Because of the nature of their disability and other medical histories, some people with disabilities are more vulnerable to serious complications if they become ill with COVID-19. Therefore, the transmission of the SARS-Cov-2 virus must be minimised to prevent illness in the general community, including people with disabilities.  The strategies to reduce transmission include enhanced infection prevention and control procedures.NSW Health wishes to acknowledge the significant efforts of disability support providers to reduce the risk of COVID-19 for their residents/clients.


Advice to home care service providers

As of 30 November 2021

In-home and community aged care workers must be fully vaccinated by 29 November 2021.

The advice on this page also applies to people working within the Commonwealth Home Support Programme.

Staff screening requirements

Home care and community aged care service providers are responsible to ensure that staff must not provide services if they:

  • are a close contact of a person with confirmed COVID-19 in the last 14 days,
  • are a casual contact of a person with confirmed COVID-19 and have not returned at least one negative nose/throat PCR test result,
  • are unable to provide evidence of having received a COVID-19 vaccine as per the Public Health (COVID-19 Care Services) Order 2021. On rare occasions, there may be a medical contraindication to COVID-19 vaccination. A COVID-19 medical contraindication certificate is required in this circumstance,
  • have COVID-19 symptoms,
  • are waiting for a COVID-19 test result,
  • have been to an overseas country of concern in the last 14 days
  • have been to other overseas countries (not of concern) in the previous 14 days, unless they are fully vaccinated and have received a negative PCR test 7 days or later after their arrival.
  • are a staff member living with a person identified as a close contact, unless the facility has assessed that the staff member is essential and has put in place measures to minimise risk.

COVID-19 safety measures for home care service providers

Minimise staff working across multiple settings (such as in-home and residential care). Where ceasing staff movement across settings is not practical, additional measures should be put in place, such as maintaining records of staff and work locations and increasing use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

All in-home care service providers must maintain vigilance to prevent the introduction of COVID-19 into a person's home.

Ensure staff actively ask clients about symptoms on arrival. If staff become aware of a client with symptoms, that client should be isolated from others and arrangements made for COVID-19 testing.

Day Activity Programs

Day activity programs are permitted to operate but must align with the directions in the Public Health (COVID-19 General) Order 2021

In arranging activities, day program providers should maintain COVID-19 safe practices including:

  • encouraging all residents, staff and volunteers to be fully vaccinated
  • ensuring everyone wears a mask when indoors, unless they are exempted
  • encouraging regular use of alcohol-based hand sanitiser
  • maintaining a distance of at least 1.5 meters from other people
  • have COVID-19 safe plans in place

Staff and participants should not attend if they have any COVID-19 symptoms

Where participants are not fully vaccinated, providers are encouraged to continue to provide flexible options including online service delivery, individual activities and avoid group interactions unless the participants are from the same household.

Mask wearing

  • It is strongly recommended that both the home care worker and the resident wear a surgical mask during the provision of the service.
  • A home care worker or resident may remove their mask:
    • while communicating with a person who is deaf or hard of hearing
    • if wearing a mask creates a risk to health and safety
    • where clear enunciation or visibility of your mouth is essential
  • Anyone removing a mask for one of these reasons should maintain 1.5m distance from others wherever possible.
  • There are currently mandatory face mask rules in some settings. If a home care worker is taking a resident out of the home setting it is important to follow the rules and understand how to use a face mask.
  • If a person cannot wear a face mask because of a disability, physical or mental health illness or condition, they must carry either
    • a medical certificate or letter signed by a registered health practitioner (such as a doctor) or a registered NDIS provider or
    • a statutory declaration.

Further information

  • The Commonwealth Department of Health has issued a Guide for Home Care Providers to assist staff in reducing the risk of COVID-19.
  • More detailed advice for services who provide care in the home is at Guidance for risk screening and assessment for home visiting health services.
  • Please seek the advice of your local NSW Health Public Health Unit if you are in doubt about how to appropriately mitigate risk when providing home care services on 1300 066 055.
  • For more information about NDIS-related issues, including any funding issues relating to compliance with these measures for NDIS participants, contact:
    • NDIA on 1800 800 110 or via NDIA
    • NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission on 180 035 544 or via NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission
    • Ministry of Health on 9391 9858 or via email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Current as at: Tuesday 30 November 2021
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW
 

IDEAS does information so you can do life.