​Most people with COVID-19 will have a mild illness and recover at home. Some may get very unwell and need to go to hospital where they will be cared for in a special COVID-19 ward with other people who have COVID-19. If needed, some people go to an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for specialised care.

Last updated: 16 June 2022

What will the COVID-19 ward be like?

People will be wearing PPE, which stands for Personal Protective Equipment. This includes face masks, face shields, gloves and gowns. It may be difficult to recognise people wearing PPE.

You will need to stay in your bed, except when you need to use the toilet. Ask staff for help if you need it.

How do I tell the hospital about what I need?

Tell the staff if you need help with reading, speaking or understanding information or other support and they will make sure you are supported during your stay in hospital.

Some online tools are available that can help you communicate your needs to hospital staff, one of these tools is called Admission 2 Discharge (A2D).

You can always ask questions about your care.

Can visitors (family/friends/support workers) help with my disability support needs during my stay?

If you think you will need visitors to support you while you are in hospital, please speak to your treating team or the Nursing Unit Manager.

It may be possible for visitors to help with your disability support, but this will depend on your circumstances. It may be difficult to have visitors if you are in a COVID-19 ward.

You can safely connect with your support workers or family via video calls. Ask staff if you need help with using an iPad or other device.

Will my treating team check if I can consent to treatment or if I have an authorised decision-maker?

Yes, on admission or soon after, your consent arrangements will be documented.

Your consent arrangements will be implemented throughout your stay in hospital.

Will my family, guardian or advocate need to monitor my care to ensure I access the ICU and/or a ventilator if my condition worsens?

No, all patients who are assessed as clinically requiring ICU and/or ventilation will receive this health support. A person with disability will have equal access to the ICU and a ventilator. This decision will be made based on what clinical care a patient needs.

When can I leave hospital?

Your treating team will let you know when you can be safely discharged from hospital.

You will have a discharge plan if you have ongoing care needs that should be attended to in the community.

If you require disability supports on discharge, your treating team will talk to your care workers to support your transition home.

Can I receive COVID-19 vaccination during my hospital stay?

It may be possible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination during your hospital stay.

Please tell your treating team if you would like help to receive COVID-19 vaccination at an appropriate time during your hospital stay.

AHRC guidelines

The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has produced Guidelines on the rights of people with disability in health and disability care during COVID-19. These guidelines can support clinicians providing care to people with disability during the pandemic.

Current as at: Thursday 16 June 2022
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW