Disability Sector Preparedness Guide for COVID-19
Through the Disability Taskforce, Communities has developed a preparedness guide in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak somewhere in the disability sector. This practical guide was developed in conjunction with the WA Department of Health, National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), the National Quality and Safeguards Commission (NDIS Commission) and State COVID committees. The preparedness guide will be updated regularly as the pandemic continues in Australia and government advice changes, therefore it is best accessed online.
This guide was last updated 31 May 2021.
You can also learn more about the current support available for WA Disability Service Providers during COVID-19.
Disability service providers can phone the below numbers for assistance due to COVID-19.
If you are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech impairment, you can also call the National Relay Service on 133 677. Visit National Relay Service for more information.
If you require a translating and interpreting service, you can call the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) on 131 450. Visit help using TIS National Services for more information.
Coronavirus information helpline
- 13 COVID (13 26843)
- Interstate callers: 1800 595 206
- International callers: +61 8 9118 3100
Anyone impacted by COVID-19 can phone the 13 COVID (13 26843)a WA operated helpline for practical support and information. This includes people who have been placed under home isolation or quarantine as a result of COVID-19 and require welfare support (for example food, clothing and personal requisites, emergency accommodation, personal support services, financial assistance, registration and reunification).
Department of Communities
- (08) 6167 8777
9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
Communities is committed to supporting the disability sector to provide essential services to people with disability, and has established a dedicated telephone number and email address for disability service providers to advise of any concerns about business continuity and their ability to continue to provide contracted services, as a result of COVID-19.
Disability services providers who are registered on the Disability Service Provider Panel are encouraged to use this dedicated telephone number and/or email.
Public Health Emergency Operations Centre (PHEOC)
- 1300 316 555
8am to 5pm, 7 days.
An expert public health team from Department of Health (WA) who are responsible for the management of COVID-19 cases, contacts and outbreaks. This number can be phoned for immediate assistance and advice in the event of a case, contact or symptomatic person.
Access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, PPE has become difficult to procure, however, disability service providers should continue to obtain PPE from their usual or alternative suppliers. Ideally, disability service providers should plan for contingency access to immediate PPE supplies if an outbreak occurs.
If a disability service provider has exhausted PPE from their usual or alternative suppliers, the below resources can be accessed:
NDIS – National Medical Stockpile (NMS)
- Email NDISCOVIDPPE@health.gov.au demonstrating evidence of need
- Read COVID-19 information for providers on the use of PPE factsheet.
During a COVID-19 outbreak as determined by the Department of Health (WA) the below resource may be accessed:
Department of Communities
- Email email@example.com with the below information:
- organisation name
- number of frontline staff
- number of vulnerable individuals supported
- key contact person
- mobile phone and email or best contact
- delivery address.
Advice about when to use PPE when providing supports and services for people with disability is guided by both the WA Department of Health and the Australian Government Department of Health. For further information visit advice on how to access PPE, advice for use of PPE for non-healthcare workers in community settings and FAQs: PPE use for workers in community settings.
Infection control and PPE resources
A responsibility of disability service providers is to ensure staff are trained in infection prevention and control.
An overview of various training resources is located on our resources page (see "Infection control and PPE resources").
The Disability Taskforce has developed a series of flowcharts in collaboration with WA Department of Health to provide a visual guide of what would occur if someone presented with COVID-19 symptoms.
These cover four scenarios:
- A person with disability living in the community (with or without formal supports)
- A person with disability living in supported group accommodation
- A support worker
- An employee of an Australian Disability Enterprise (ADE)
Also read the accompanying considerations for disability service delivery document.
Additional funded supports for people with disability
People with disability may require additional funded supports due to COVID-19. This can be requested through the funding body.
- People with disability who are NDIS participants can request additional supports by contacting the NDIS on 1800 800 110 and selecting option 5
- People with disability currently funded by the State:
Disability workforce support
The Jobs in WA Disability Services website was established to connect skilled job seekers, whose employment has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with employers looking for skilled workers. This resource is for both disability service providers and people self-managing their supports.
Employers looking to hire more staff can create a free employer profile to search for potential candidates and job seekers.
WAConnect is a whole-of-sector community services directory for the state. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how important it is to know what services are available during an emergency, and to provide this advice to people in immediate need. WAConnect collects data about services – opening hours, locations, and different types of emergency support that services can provide to people as required.
Community organisations are encouraged to register with WA Connect and fill in the Data Exchange survey.
In addition to the general information, see additional resources below for disability service providers.
WA Department of Health
- COVID-19 information for aged care and community care providers
- COVID-19 guidelines for WA community-based care
Australian Government Department of Health
- COVID-19 advice for the health and disability sector
- Providing disability support services during COVID-19
- COVID-19 guide for home care providers
- Information for support worker and carers on COVID-19 testing for people with disability
- COVID-19 guidelines for infection prevention and control in residential care facilities