When you must not work
Workers providing close personal care in high-risk environments such as residential aged and disability care services and hospitals must not attend work for 7 days after testing positive for COVID-19 and while symptoms persist.
Vaccination continues to be important in managing the risk related to COVID-19 in high-risk settings such as residential aged care and people with disability accessing intensive supports.
States and territories have different COVID-19 vaccination requirements for disability support workers. Follow the links below for details.
- Australian Capital Territory
- New South Wales
- Northern Territory
- South Australia
- Western Australia.
For more information about the requirements where you work, please contact your state or territory health department.
Staying up to date
To be considered up to date with COVID-19 vaccination, you must have completed all the doses recommended for your age and health status.
Find out about how to stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines.
Where to get vaccinated
The COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Finder is the best way to book a vaccination. Find a clinic near you that suits your needs.
Monitor the health of people in your care and watch out for symptoms of COVID-19.
Keep in mind that some people with intellectual or developmental disability may:
- be at greater risk of serious illness due to COVID-19 if they have some medical conditions and co-morbidities
- have difficulty understanding and adhering to social distancing, handwashing and other risk reduction strategies, which increases their risk
- not show or be able to communicate early COVID-19 symptoms.
If you develop fever or respiratory symptoms, even if mild, you should get tested straight away and stay home until you are well.
If someone you care for has symptoms, you or they should seek advice from their GP or the National Coronavirus Helpline about whether they should be tested.
Read about testing and explaining the testing process to a person with disability.
Stopping the spread
To help slow the spread of COVID-19, practise good hygiene and physical distancing and wear a mask in indoor and high-risk settings.
For more on how you can protect yourself and those in your care, complete the 30-minute COVID-19 infection control training.
Personal protective equipment (PPE)
Wear appropriate PPE (gown, mask, protective eyewear and gloves) if you:
- will be exposed to body fluids or very contaminated surfaces
- are caring for someone confirmed or suspected of having COVID-19.
Remove your PPE before leaving the room or the person’s home. Wash or sanitise your hands straight after removing PPE.
Disability support workers may be required to wear a mask at all times when providing care in areas with community transmission of COVID-19. Check current requirements in your state / territory.
NDIS providers and self-managing participants who can no longer access PPE supplies the private market can contact the National Medical Stockpile by emailing NDISCOVIDPPE@health.gov.au.
Read more about accessing PPE for NDIS providers.
If you are a non-NDIS provider, and can no longer access PPE through usual means, contact your state or territory health authority.
Mental health support
Some people with disability may feel more alone during the pandemic. They may:
- have less contact with friends and relatives
- feel isolated from their culture and heritage
- have less contact with the outside world because they are concerned about the risks of catching COVID-19 in public spaces.
To support people with disability, let them know about Head to Health, which provides information about mental health and digital support.
Looking after your own mental health is also important. Read our mental health advice for the health workforce.
Outbreak prevention and management
Providers of disability residential services must take steps to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks and plan for outbreak management.
The Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA) has developed national guidelines on the prevention and management of outbreaks of acute respiratory infection (including COVID-19 and influenza) in disability residential services.
Providers of disability residential services must also review guidance on outbreak prevention and management issued by state and territory governments.
Management and operational plan
We’ve developed a plan for people of all ages with disability, their families, carers, support workers and the disability and health care sectors.
It provides high-level guidance on how to manage and prevent the transmission of COVID-19 for people with disability and will be updated as needed.
Management and Operational Plan for People with Disability
The plan was overseen by the Advisory Committee for the COVID-19 Response for People with Disability.
A 30-minute online module — COVID-19 infection control training — is available for care workers across all health care settings.
Each module takes 5 to 10 minutes. You will receive an acknowledgement of completion certificate for each module.
This training is hosted on an external site, provided by our COVID-19 training partner Aspen Medical.
Publications and fact sheets
COVID-19 resources for health professionals, including aged care providers, pathology providers and health care managers
View our webinars on the COVID-19 response for the health, aged care and disability sectors.