In a life threatening emergency dial Triple Zero (000)

In a life threatening emergency dial Triple Zero (000)
ACT Public Hospitals

Canberra Hospital

5124 0000


Calvary Hospital

6201 6111

Mental Health

Call Mental Health Triage on

1800 629 354

(free call except from mobiles or public phones) or

6205 1065

Poisons Hotline

For a poison emergency in Australia call

131126

Drug and Alcohol Help Line

The Drug and Alcohol Help Line is available 24-hours, 7 days a week on

5124 9977

Health Protection Service

For after hours urgent public health matters including environmental health, radiation safety, food poisoning and communicable disease management phone:

(02) 6205 1700

healthdirect

24 hour health advice

1800 022 222

ACT State Emergency Service

Emergency help
during flood or storms

132 500

Support for People with Disability


Support for People with Disability

Canberra is an inclusive city and we want to ensure that our community continues to uphold these values during this time of crisis.

It is a challenging time for all in our community, particularly for our most vulnerable who may find these challenges difficult to navigate.

We want to ensure that people with disability in our community can still access essential services under current provisions.

Disability - Your Health

People with disability may face a range of additional and unique challenges and risks during the COVID-19 health emergency. People with disability, especially those who also have underlying chronic health conditions, may be at increased risk of contracting COVID-19 and may experience a more severe impact from the virus and the associated public health measures that have been put in place.

Updated COVID-19 resources for people with disability and their supporters on the Australian Department of Health’s website

The following fact sheets have now been published on the Australian Department of Health’s website on the Advice for People with Disability pageExternal Link:

  • Information for Families
  • Information for Disability Support Providers and Workers
  • Guide to personal protective equipment (PPE) for disability care providers
  • Information for support workers and carers on coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for people with disability
  • Information for Health Workers in Emergency Departments
  • Information for Health Workers
  • Information for Health and Mental Health Workers
  • Information for Primary Health Care Staff
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guide for Home Care Providers

A series of Auslan videos on the COVID-19 Emergency Response Plan for People with DisabilityExternal Link has also been uploaded to the front page of the Department of Health’s YouTube channelExternal Link

The Department of Health has also shared the content on their social media channels including:

Where can I talk to someone about my COVID-19 concerns or questions?

Disability & Carers Information Helpline

The Australian Government has established a helpful website and helpline. Information and referrals for people with disability and their supporters about coronavirus (COVID-19) webpageExternal Link, which includes a Disability Information Helpline for people with disability and their supporters.

You can contact the Helpline in the following ways:

  • Phone (free call): 1800 643 787
  • If you are deaf, or have a hearing or speech impairment, you can also call the National Relay Service on 133 677.

The Helpline is available Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm (AEST) and Saturday and Sunday 9am to 7pm (AEST). It’s not available on national public holidays.

The website includes a number of accessible resources and a list of other supports available.

The Carers ACT websiteExternal Link includes information and support for carers during the COVID-19 emergency. It includes a dedicated Coronavirus COVID-19 information for carersExternal Link webpage.

Carers ACT contact details:

The Australian government’s Carers Gateway also has a dedicated Coronavirus (COVID-19) informationExternal Link webpage for carers. The Carer Gateway phone line is available 24 hours a day on 1800 422 737.

For emergency respite, call your local Carer Gateway Service Provider 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 1800 422 737.

National Disability Insurance Scheme | I am an NDIS participant. What information and support is available to me related to COVID-19?

The National Disability Insurance AgencyExternal Link (NDIA) is the Commonwealth agency responsible for ensuring that National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants continue to receive critical services and supports, and that they have timely access to relevant safety and wellbeing information.

The NDIA has created a dedicated Coronavirus (COVID-19) information and supportExternal Link webpage which outlines the latest information and advice from the NDIA about the coronavirus situation.

The NDIA can be contacted on 1800 800 110 or by email on enquiries@ndis.gov.au. You can also use webchatExternal Link to talk to the NDIA from Monday to Friday between 8am to 8pm.

ACT Integrated Service Response Program

The Integrated Service Response Program (ISRP) is provided through the Office for Disability in the Community Services Directorate. ISRP provides short-term coordination support for people who have high or complex support needs. ISRP also provides funding for people with disability to purchase emergency supports and services from non-government providers.

ISRP works with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and service providers to resolve crises and highly complex situations for people with intensive support needs. It connects individuals with mainstream services. ISRP ensures everyone is working together behind the scenes to support people who have intense support needs.

The ISRP is available to assist people who are at risk of crises during the COVID-19 emergency. For more information, including eligibility requirements and referral information, see the ISRP website. You can contact the ISRP team on 6207 1086 or email officefordisability@act.gov.au

Mental health and wellbeing for people with disability | How can I look after my mental health and wellbeing?

The COVID-19 emergency can be a worrying time for all Canberrans. The rapid changes and uncertainty for the future can have a particularly significant impact on the mental health and wellbeing of people with disability, especially when some people with disability may not understand the changes, are unable to receive their usual supports, or follow their typical routines.

There are services and resources available to help you.

Mental health support services and resources

Social Connections

It is important to stay connected with the people in your life, even while social distancing.

Libraries ACTExternal Link has launched a new Digital helpline, available 9.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (except public holidays). If you need some extra help accessing online resources, give the Libraries ACT Digital Helpline a call on 6207 7265 and one of their friendly staff will step you through what to do.

Women With Disabilities ACT (WWDACT)External Link have also put together a range of helpful resources to help people stay connected:

Zoom (requires the internet):

Skype (requires the internet):

Facetime (requires the internet):

Phone calls, text messages or send letters!

  • Pick up the phone, send a text or, post a letter in the mail

See the Involved website’s ‘What’s On’External Link webpage for more ways to stay connected.

For people living in shared/congregate living

Information on infection control for NDIS providers is available on the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission website External Link.

The Department of Health has published information about social distancingExternal Link.

Advokit provide some information on what social distancing means for people who live in group homes.External Link

Other resources

Advocacy for Inclusion have compiled a range of Easy English resourcesExternal Link and podcastsExternal Link relating to the Coronavirus.

The Australian Government’s Department of Health has established the Coronavirus (COVID-19) resources for health professionals, including aged care providers, pathology providers and healthcare managersExternal Link website, which includes a range of resources and advice for the health and aged care sectors.

This includes a free online COVID-19 Infection Control training courseExternal Link. Disability service providers in the ACT are strongly encouraged to undertake this course.

The NDIA has advice on the Your health and safetyExternal Link webpage.

Australian Health Sector Emergency Response Plan for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Australian Government’s Department of Health has launched the Australian Health Sector Emergency Response Plan for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19 with a Management and Operational Plan for People with Disability.External Link

Canberra Health Services, ACT Health Directorate and the Community Services Directorate are working together to establish an implementation plan for the ACT. The Plan has been developed for people of all ages with disability, their families, support workers and the disability and health care sectors.

The Plan will take a risk-based approach, prioritising individuals whose disability, current health status and the setting in which they live, places them at a bigger risk of negative outcomes related to COVID-19.

Personal Protective Equipment | How can I access Personal Protective Equipment?

People with disability, Disability Support providers including NDIS providers and self-managing participants who use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as part of their support arrangements should continue to access PPE through their usual means. Where this is no longer possible, they should first approach the National Medical Stockpile (NMS) by emailing NDISCOVIDPPE@health.gov.au

Where people with disability who require PPE on a daily basis to ensure that their support needs can be met and disability support providers are unable to access PPE supplies through these means, they are eligible to apply to access PPE through a supply supported by ACT Government. Requests for PPE can be lodged through the completion of an online request form at COVID19 websiteExternal Link

Due to supply limitations, requests for PPE will be prioritised based on current advice from the Chief Health Officer, ACT Health and the demonstrated need for PPE as outlined through an online request.

Any questions or enquiries may be sent to the Community Services Directorate at CSDPPE@act.gov.au.

For more information, see:

Hygiene products | How can I access hygiene products?

Hygiene products include soap, cleaning supplies and toilet paper.

Many of these items are in short supply during the COVID-19 emergency. Some people with disability are at increased risk of contracting COVID-19, either because the nature of their disability makes it difficult to avoid contact with surfaces in the environment, or because their support needs require unavoidable close contact with people. Accordingly, access to adequate hygiene products is essential for people with disability for their personal health and safety and the health and safety of their support networks.

These supplies can be accessed through local supermarkets, many of which now have programs to provide home delivery to vulnerable people including people with disability. These supplies may also be accessed through the Canberra Relief Network.

Canberra Relief Network

The Canberra Relief NetworkExternal Link (CRN) is the ACT Government’s response to the community’s overwhelming and increasing demand for food and non-perishable household essential items, following the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The CRN is there to support Canberrans who have been impacted by the COVID-19 emergency, including casual workers, international students, people isolated due to COVID-19 infection, carers of individuals with COVID-19, people with disability, health and chronic illness.

The CRN can assist with the provision of hygiene supplies to eligible people. Contact details:

Exclusive shopping hour

To help support the shopping needs of people with disability and older community members, some supermarket chains have introduced an exclusive shopping hour for individuals with appropriate government-issued identification. Providers who are supporting this include:

Priority Assistance for deliveries

Woolworths has also recently announced the introduction of a Priority Assistance service to ensure vulnerable customers in the community have access to delivery services. Eligible customers include seniors, people with disability and those with compromised immunity or who are required to self-isolate. Individuals are able to register for the Priority Assistance service via the Woolworths websiteExternal Link.

Priority supermarket delivery for NDIS Participants
NDIS participants now have priority access to supermarket home delivery services.

Visit the NDIA’s Priority Home Delivery ServicesExternal Link webpage to learn more.

Accessible Information

Easy English/Easy Read Resources

Easy English is a style of writing that provides understandable, concise information for people with low English literacy. It can enable people with cognitive disability, read English as a second language and people with limited ability to read and write words to understand complex written information.

You can find lots of information about Covid-19 in Easy English.

Advocacy for Inclusion have compiled a range of Easy English resourcesExternal Link and podcastsExternal Link relating to the Coronavirus.

The Council for Intellectual DisabilityExternal Link has a webpage with a lot of information in Easy English.

Below are some other helpful Easy English documents:

These Easy Read posters provide simple information about Covid-19. They can be printed out and posted on a wall to help you remember important information:

Auslan

The organisations below have provided Auslan videos on coronavirus COVID-19:

A series of Auslan videos on the COVID-19 Emergency Response Plan for People with DisabilityExternal Link has also been uploaded to the front page of the Department of Health’s YouTube channelExternal Link

Disability - Your Family

Planning tool for people with disability | How can I prepare or plan for changes during the COVID-19 pandemic ?

Queenslanders with Disability Network (QDN) and the University of Sydney have developed a practical COVID-19 individual planning tool for people with disability, the Person-Centred Emergency Preparedness (PCEP) Planning for COVID-19 guide [PDF 4.7MB]. This guide has been adapted for people in the ACT.

This is a guide to help people with disability to get the facts about Coronavirus (COVID-19) and to plan for how they will manage the impact of this situation.

The individual COVID-19 planning tool will assist you to plan for two situations that you might have to face during this COVID-19 pandemic. They might be:

  1. staying at home for a long period of time
  2. getting help if you or someone who supports you gets COVID-19 symptoms

There are more planning toolsExternal Link on the website, including an essential items checklistExternal Link and a printable visitor door signExternal Link for people with higher vulnerability to the virus.

Carers | What support is available for Carers?

The Carers ACT websiteExternal Link includes information and support for carers during the COVID-19 emergency. It includes a dedicated Coronavirus COVID-19 information for carersExternal Link webpage.

Carers ACT contact details:

The Australian government’s Carers Gateway also has a dedicated Coronavirus (COVID-19) informationExternal Link webpage for carers. The Carer Gateway phone line is available Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm on 1800 422 737.

For emergency respite, call your local Carer Gateway Service Provider 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 1800 422 737.

First Nations people with disability information

First Peoples Disability Network Australia has created a dedicated web pageExternal Link with information and resources to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with disability during the COVID-19 health emergency.

Disability support workers video

A videoExternal Link detailing how and when disability support workers should wear PPE has been made available. Alison McMillan, Australia’s Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, demonstrates how and when PPE is to be used. Further information on the use of PPE for the health workforce is available on the Department of Health's websiteExternal Link.

ACT Integrated Service Response Program

The Integrated Service Response Program (ISRP) is provided through the Office for Disability in the Community Services Directorate. ISRP provides short-term coordination support for people who have high or complex support needs. ISRP also provides funding for people with disability to purchase emergency supports and services from non-government providers.

The ISRP is available to assist people who are at risk of crises during the COVID-19 emergency. For more information, including eligibility requirements and referral information, see the ISRP website. You can contact the ISRP team on: 6207 1086 or email officefordisability@act.gov.au

Resources to Support Children

Return to school for students with disability plan

The Return to School for Students with Disability COVID-19 Risk Management PlanExternal Link can help prepare for the return to school by supporting discussions with a student’s school and doctor on strategies to reduce risks in the school environment.

ACT Education Learning Resource Library

The ACT Education Directorate have developed The Home Learning: Resources for Students and FamiliesExternal Link online portal to support parents and children learning from home. This online learning resource library is user friendly and suitable for students of all ages with a wide variety of engaging lessons, activities, podcasts, video links and family guides.

Libraries ACT

ACT public library branches as well as the ACT Heritage Library are closed. However, there are many Libraries ACT online services are always open.

There are many children’s activities and resources available through the Libraries ACT websiteExternal Link, including:

If you are not yet a member, you can Join the library onlineExternal Link.

Libraries ACT has launched a new Digital helpline, available 9.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (except public holidays). If you need some extra help accessing online resources, give the Libraries ACT Digital Helpline a call on 6207 7265 and one of their friendly staff will step you through what to do.

Australian Coalition for Inclusive Education Resource

The resource Learning at home during a time of crisis: COVID-19 (Coronavirus)External Link has been developed to help parents support their children while schools are pupil free or closed in these uncertain times. This resource is to assist children and young people with disability and families to organise and plan for learning at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Down Syndrome Australia

Down Syndrome Australia have produced a number of resources to support childrenExternal Link, including resources to assist you to talk about Coronavirus in an age appropriate way. They have also produced resources to support children’s learning at homeExternal Link.

Advocacy and support

Individual advocacy services support people with disability directly to exercise their rights to voice concerns, access information, resolve complex issues, complaints and identify available support options.

People with disability, their family and supporters in the ACT can receive individual advocacy support from:

ACT Disability, Aged and Carer Advocacy Service (ADACAS)

Advocacy for Inclusion (AFI)

ACT Mental Health Consumers Network

Advocacy resources to assist in supporting people with disability are available from:

Advokit

The ACT also has four disability peak bodies who provide systemic representation for people with disability and respective cohorts of the broader disability community, including carers and disability service organisations.

The ACT’s disability peak organisations are:

Women with Disabilities ACT (WWDACT) champion the rights and equality of women, girls, feminine identifying and non-binary people with disability in the ACT.

Carers ACT is the peak body for carers in the ACT.

National Disability Services ACT isthe industry peak body for the ACT’s disability services.

People with Disabilities ACT (PWDACT) is the peak advocacy organisation for people with disability in the ACT.

Visiting a relative who lives in shared/congregate living

See the Department of Health – COVID-19 information for families and residents on restricted visits to residential aged care facilitiesExternal Link website for more information.

Restrictive Practices

People with disability are required to comply with the same public health instructions and precautions as other Canberrans. Some people with disability may be more at riskExternal Link of serious illness from COVID-19 than others and extra precautions may be necessary.

The ACT Office of the Senior PractitionerExternal Link is aware of the risk of increased use of restrictive practices in the COVID-19 environment.

If a person/s is required to be isolated within a group home or shared living arrangement due a positive test result for COVID 19, these circumstances are not considered a restrictive practice and does not require authorisation by the Senior Practitioner. The service provider should implement their planned isolation and enhanced infection control practices whilst maintaining care provision to the person with disability.

ACT Official Visitor Scheme

The Disability Official Visitors (OVs) have advised that visits to houses and respite facilities will change while Covid19 distancing arrangements are in place. The OVs will not be conducting face-to-face visits as a matter of course but will remain available to all clients, families and guardians to assist in resolving any issues that may arise.

Visits may be undertaken in urgent and necessary cases and, in such cases, the relevant OV will discuss arrangements with the provider to ensure the safety of all clients, workers and OVs. The OVs have requested that providers inform all clients, families and guardians that they are still able to contact the OVs and discuss any issues of concern.

The OVs can be contacted on 1800 150 036 or via the contact form on the website www.ptg.act.gov.au/visitor-schemeExternal Link. The OVs will also be maintaining telephone contact with visitable places to check on how clients are faring.

Disability - Your Livelihood

Employment support for people with disability | What financial and job support is available to me?

If you have lost your job, business or are worried about money, you can visit the Services AustraliaExternal Link website for more information. There is a dedicated webpage for people with disabilityExternal Link, which provides an overview of the services and payments available to people with disability, families and carers if you have an illness, injury or disability.

Jobkeeper

The federal government has introduced a $130 billion JobKeeper Payment scheme to support businesses significantly affected by the coronavirus to help keep more Australians in jobs.

The JobKeeper payment is open to eligible employers to enable them to pay their eligible employee’s salary or wages of at least $1,500 (before tax) per fortnight.

For more information, including eligibility, visit the Australian Taxation Office – JobkeeperExternal Link webpage.

Disability Support Pension

People with disability who are receiving the Disability Support PensionExternal Link will receive a lump-sum payment of $750 as part of the federal government’s economic stimulus package response to the COVID-19 emergency. This will be paid from 31 March 2020.

Carers

Carers who are receiving a Centrelink Carers PaymentExternal Link will receive a lump-sum payment of $750 as part of the federal government’s economic stimulus package response to the COVID-19 emergency. This will be paid from 31 March 2020.

Disability Service Providers

On 9 April 2020, the Department of Social Services (DSS) announced a range of employment and other supports for people with disability, Australian Disability Enterprises and Disability Employment Service providers. For more information, see the DSS media releaseExternal Link.

The Australian Government’s Department of Health has established the Coronavirus (COVID-19) resources for health professionals, including aged care providers, pathology providers and healthcare managersExternal Link website, which includes a range of resources and advice for the health and aged care sectors. This includes a free online COVID-19 Infection Control training courseExternal Link.

The NDIS Quality and Safeguards CommissionExternal Link have set up a dedicated NDIS Commission coronavirus (COVID-19) informationExternal Link webpage for NDIS participants and NDIS disability service providers. This information is to inform and support NDIS providers to continue to deliver quality and safe supports and services to NDIS participants.

Financial Support for Not for Profit & Charity Organisations

Legislation has been enacted to provide temporary cash flow support to eligible not-for-profit organisations (NFP) during the economic downturn associated with COVID-19.

For more information, including eligibility, visit the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website’s COVID-19 Economic response for NFPsExternal Link webpage.

Disability - Your Community

Food relief & supplies

A range of initiatives have been put in place to assist vulnerable people, including people with disability, to be able to get the essential supplies they need.

Canberra Relief Network

The Canberra Relief NetworkExternal Link (CRN) is the ACT Government’s response to our community’s overwhelming and increasing demand for food and non-perishable essential items, as a direct result of the global COVID-19 Pandemic. For more information visit call: 1800 43 11 33 or visit them on FacebookExternal Link.

Exclusive shopping hour

To help support the shopping needs of people with disability and older community members, some supermarket chains have introduced an exclusive shopping hour for individuals with appropriate government-issued identification. Providers who are supporting this include:

Priority Assistance for deliveries

Woolworths has also recently announced the introduction of a Priority Assistance service to ensure vulnerable customers in the community have access to delivery services. Eligible customers include seniors, people with disability and those with compromised immunity or who are required to self-isolate. Individuals are able to register for the Priority Assistance service via the Woolworths websiteExternal Link.

Priority supermarket delivery for NDIS Participants
NDIS participants now have priority access to supermarket home delivery services.

Visit the NDIA’s Priority Home Delivery ServicesExternal Link webpage to learn more.

Planning tool for people with disability during COVID-19

Planning tool for people with disability | How can I prepare or plan for changes during the COVID-19 pandemic?

A practical COVID-19 individual planning tool for people with disability has been developed and adapted for the ACT. Person-Centred Emergency Preparedness (PCEP) Planning for COVID-19 guide [PDF 4.6MB].

This is a guide to help people with disability to get the facts about Coronavirus (COVID-19) and to plan for how they will manage the impact of this situation.

The individual COVID-19 planning tool will assist you to plan for two situations that you might have to face during this COVID-19 pandemic.  They might be:

  1. staying at home for a long period of time
  2. getting help if you or someone who supports you gets COVID-19 symptoms

There are more planning toolsExternal Link on the website, including an essential items checklistExternal Link and a printable visitor door signExternal Link for people with higher vulnerability to the virus.

ACT COVID-19 Disability Strategy

The ACT Government has developed a Strategy to guide its engagement with, and support to, people with disability, their families, carers and the disability sector in responding to the COVID-19 health emergency.

The Strategy addresses a broader range of issues than the health-related aspects of the COVID-19 experience, and is supported by an Action Plan that outlines the measures that are in place to respond to the current and emerging issues associated with the pandemic for people with disability, their families, their carers and the disability sector.

The Minister for Disability, Ms Suzanne Orr, launched the Strategy on Monday 18 May 2020, saying “The introduction of this Strategy will ensure that people with disability and the disability sector are provided with timely, sensitive, informed and appropriate support during this time of uncertainty.”

The ACT Government is committed to ensuring that all Canberra residents, regardless of their background, have equal access to its programs and services. It is ACT Government policy to use professional interpreters when speaking with people who have difficulty communicating in English. You can find out more about accessing the Translating and Interpreting Service for your language here.