During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is necessary to practice an increased level of isolation. There may be less support workers available to you resulting in reduction of care support. It is important that you develop a COVID-19 action plan that addresses the need for isolation and possible changes to the availability of your support workers.
If you become unwell and need medical care, your usual doctor and hospital services are still able to help, although they may use other options, such as contact by phone or video consults. If you have an emergency, you can call an ambulance.
Talk to your funding body, such as NDIS, iCare, or My Aged Care, about possible adjustments to your funding should your needs change as a result of COVID-19. If you are an NDIS participant, there has been some recent changes to allow for adjustments in plans if you have experienced changes because of COVID-19.
Coles and Woolworths have both set up priority online shopping for vulnerable people. You can register using Disability Support Pension card, Health Care Card, Companion Card or NDIS home delivery access code.
Your goal should be to minimise the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
We know that people with spinal cord injury who need hands-on personal care cannot practice social distancing during these tasks. Service providers and their workers should already have an understanding of infection control and engage in infection control practices.
It’s important both you and your support staff practice hand hygiene and avoid touching your face.
During your service keep track of where your hands and your support workers hands have been ensuring yours and your support workers hands are regularly cleaned and the surfaces that you or your support touch during the service is also cleaned.
Ask your supports workers if they have completed the Australian Government’s free COVID-19 training module.
It is wise to have an adequate supply of your usual medications and health supplies or consumables available in case you have a period of self-isolation, but avoid stockpiling. Talk to your service provider or supplier about your needs and any supply issues. Do you have adequate suppliers of personal protective equipment (PPE)? NDIS participants who can no longer access PPE supplies through usual means can contact the National Medical Stockpile by emailing NDISCOVIDPPE@health.gov.au.
icare (Lifetime care and Workers Care) program participants can request a variation for additional PPE, on the Consumables variation order form on the icare website.
Information and referrals for people with disability and their supporters about COVID-19.
Contact the Disability Information Helpline on 1800 643 787.
Monday to Friday 8am - 8pm (AEST) and Saturday and Sunday 9am - 7pm (AEST). It is not available on national public holidays.
Find the latest information about COVID-19 recommendations from reputable sites like the NSW and Australian Government health sites.
Some people may experience emotional distress or increased anxiety and depression due to the events of COVID-19. Social distancing restrictions may mean that you are unable to see family and friends as frequently. It is important to reach out if you are feeling isolated or distressed. Immediate phone support is available through Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the NSW Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511.
Lifeline: Mental health and wellbeing during the Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak
Specific information regarding self-care and mental health wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic is available at the Black Dog Institute coronavirus:resources for anxiety & stress webpage.
Spinal cord injury community of practice and Social Workers in Spinal group.
Dr Nigel Lyons, Deputy Secretary, Health System Strategy and Planning, NSW Ministry of Health.
People with SCI working with care staff at home.