Involved eNews – 8 October 2021
Involved eNews – 8 October 2021
Hello and welcome to INVOLVED eNews
This week we have had announcements about the ACT Budget and announcements on how the ACT Government is seeking to keep community safe through mandatory vaccinations starting with health workers. We are happy to see ongoing support and commitment to the Integrated Service Response Program and to individual advocacy through ADACAS and Advocacy for Inclusion.
As we plan for a change in our lockdown arrangements it is important for you to do everything you can to ensure your safety:
- You have the right to request that your NDIS support staff are vaccinated
- You have the right to request support workers wear PPE. From 1 October, the NDIA has made provisions for funding so that eligible providers can claim the cost of PPE directly from the NDIA
- During this time, you may choose to only socialise with family and friends who are fully vaccinated
You can ask people coming to your home to provide support to you some questions. If you are a support worker you can offer this information to the people you support when you arrive at their home to provide a level of assurance. Here are some questions that you can ask.
- Are you vaccinated?
- Have you been to any close or casual contact locations in the last 14 days?
- Are you a close or casual contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case and has it been 14 days or less since your last exposure to the case?
- Do you have any COVID-19 symptoms?
- Have you been in a geographical area of risk in the last 14 days?
- Are you currently in quarantine?
- Do you live in a household with a person who is currently in quarantine or isolation?
The Weston Creek Access and Sensory Clinic at 24 Parkinson Street, Weston continues to offer vaccinations for people with disability, people with mental health conditions, people who may need extra support, and their support staff, volunteers, and carers. Bookings can be made on 02 5124 7700 (select option 3), between 7am and 7pm daily.
Some of the benefits of the Access and Sensory Clinic include longer appointment times, a dimmable vaccination room, an accessible entry point for wheelchairs and other mobility equipment, and parking directly in front of the clinic. If you would like any other assistance, you are welcome to communicate that at the time of making the appointment.
Items in this edition of Involved are:
- Webinar for Service Providers - Pathway out of Lockdown – new event
- COVID-19 Vaccination – new Easy English Social Story
- COVID-19 Testing Sites
- Wearing face masks
- Respite Effect and Recovery Grants – remain open
- Consultation by Canberra Health Services
- Essential PPE information
- WWDACT Video - Importance of Getting Vaccinated
- Social Media Program to Promote COVID-19 Vaccinations
- No smartphone to check in? No problem!
- COVID-19 Accessible Information & Social Stories
- ACT Official Visitors for Disability Services
- Support provided by advocacy organisations
- NDIS COVID-19 Resource Pack and NDIS advice/links
- ACT COVID-19 disability workforce register
- Transport options for people with disability
- Grocery and Medicine Delivery Options
- Emergency Food Relief
- COVID-19 Test - Hardship Isolation Payment
- Domestic Violence services and support
- Activity and connection ideas during lockdown
- Useful links and websites
Webinar for Service Providers - Pathway out of Lockdown
National Disability Services is facilitating an interactive webinar where organisational leaders and senior managers can discuss the implications of moving out of lockdown and the issues impacting service providers and their clients. As well as discussing concerns, potential solutions will be highlighted so as to ensure the continuing provision of a high-quality service to support clients post-lockdown.
When: Thursday 14 October Via Zoom
Time: 2:00pm- 3:30pm
For more information and registration please refer to NDS Events website
Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is a safe and effective way to protect you from becoming very sick if you catch COVID-19.
ACT Health has developed a social story for students with disability on the COVID-19 vaccination, see COVID-19-vaccination-social-story
Access and Sensory Vaccination Clinic Located at Weston Creek
The Access and Sensory Vaccination Clinic is located at a dedicated space at the Weston Creek Community Health Centre, on a Monday to Friday from 8.00am to 3.30pm and is for anyone who would benefit from a quieter environment, additional space, longer appointment time, or those requiring carer assistance, including people with disability, people with mobility limitations and people with mental health conditions.
View a new Access and Sensory Clinic video which walks you through each step of the COVID-19 vaccination appointment process, from arrival to exit, providing a first-hand look ð at what to expect when attending the clinic for a vaccination.
To make a vaccination appointment at the Access and Sensory Clinic, call the ACT COVID-19 vaccination booking line on 5124 7700 (select option 3) between 7am to 7pm, daily.
It’s entirely optional to use the Access and Sensory Clinic and you may wish to make an appointment at a GP or at another ACT Government COVID-19 vaccination clinic to get your COVID-19 vaccination. All ACT Government COVID-19 mass vaccination clinics have disability parking areas and accessible ramps.
Information about COVID-19 vaccinations in the ACT is available on the Information for people with disability page on the COVID-19 website.
Vaccination Webinar for People with Intellectual Disability
The Australian Government Department of Health, supported by Inclusion Australia held a webinar to discuss the importance of getting a COVID-19 vaccine and answer questions from people with intellectual disability and supporters.
A recording of the webinar is now available on the Department of Health website.
In-home (in-reach) COVID-19 Vaccination
If a person with disability feels they may need to be vaccinated in their home because they have significant barriers to accessing other vaccination options, they can contact the ACT vaccination booking line on 02 5124 7700 (choose option 3 for the dedicated disability line).
More information is available on the Advice for People with Disability page of the COVID-19 website.
Priority COVID-19 vaccinations for all disability care workers
The ACT Government is continuing to offer priority COVID-19 vaccinations for all health, aged and disability care workers. This includes, but is not limited to, clinical and non-clinical workers of hospitals, health, age and disability care facilities. Find more information on the ACT COVID-19 vaccination web page.
COVID-19 Testing Sites
You should get tested if you have been notified by ACT Health, if you are a close or casual contact or you have even the most mildest of COVID-19 symptoms.
ACT Health has established a dedicated Access and Sensory testing site at the Garran Surge Centre for people with disability, children and young people with sensory or additional needs, and those who need additional support to undertake a test. Daily hours are 7.30am – 9.00pm.
The Garran Surge Centre also now provides a walk-in testing service for the general public, as the Weston Creek Community Centre has now ceased to be a COVID-19 walk-in testing site.
If you have difficulty accessing a testing site, please call the COVID-19 Helpline. The Helpline operates on 02 6207 7244 between 8am and 8pm daily.
Information about the location of testing sites can be found on the Where to get tested page on the COVID-19 website.
In-home (in-reach) COVID-19 Testing
In addition, people with disability who are unable to attend a testing site can call ACT Health on
5124 6500. ACT Health will talk to the person about their needs and COVID-19 contact status and assess whether they are suitable for in-reach testing. The request is passed on to a team who will schedule the in-reach testing. Depending on demand for this service, a request may not guarantee a test.
Wearing face masks
All individuals aged 12 years and over must continue to wear a mask at all times when leaving home, including in workplaces. A mask must fit securely around the face and covers the nose and mouth to provide the wearer with protection against infection. A scarf or bandana is not a face mask.
A person is not required to wear a face mask if they have a disability, or physical or mental health illness or condition, which makes wearing a face mask detrimental to their condition.
Information about when a person may remove their face mask is available on the masks and PPE page of the COVID-19 website.
Resources are available regarding masks including how to put on, wear and dispose of a face mask, including a task schedule to help break down the task of putting on a face mask into smaller steps and a Social Story from Scope Australia called I must wear a mask
Respite Effect and Recovery Grants remain open
People with disability and their families have reported experiencing increased financial pressures, a loss of regular activities, and increased social isolation during lockdown. The Respite Effect and Recovery Grants provide a great opportunity to reduce the impact of COVID-19 in our community by providing financial support, of up to $250 for people with disability and their family carers.
Applications will close on 15 October or when funding is exhausted and will be processed on a non-competitive basis, so if you have not received funding in the previous grant round apply today!
For more information and to apply, visit a participating community organisation, or see the Respite Effect and Recovery Grant Program Guidelines.
Consultation by Canberra Health Services
Our community has perhaps never been more reliant on our health services as we have during the COVID-19 Health Emergency. Canberra Health Services are developing a Disability Action and Inclusion Plan (DAIP) and they are seeking your feedback. The survey is available here: Canberra Health Services Disability Action and Inclusion Plan (DAIP) Questionnaire - Patients and Consumers Survey (surveymonkey.com)
PPE information for Disability Support Providers
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) information for ACT Disability Support providers and their workers can be found in this webinar facilitated by National Disability Services: Correct PPE Usage in a COVID Environment Video
- information on PPE requirements from ACT Health
- a live demonstration of donning and doffing PPE
- the correct fitting and fit-testing of the P95 Mask
- an interactive question and answer session
WWDACT Video - Importance of Getting Vaccinated
Social Media Program to Promote COVID-19 Vaccinations
To support the vaccination of disability support staff and people with disability National Disability Services (NDS) recently launched a special promotion to run throughout September and October which is open to all disability providers.
NDS invite you to share photos and stories of people with disability, support workers and other staff in your organisation who have received one or two doses of the vaccine. Post the photos on your organisation's Facebook Page with the hashtag #togetherwevax. Sharing these photos via your social media channels will send the message that getting vaccinated is a great thing to do and assist in helping overcome vaccine hesitancy.
Each month NDS will choose the top three posts and reward the people featured with a $100 gift voucher. Then, at the end of the program NDS will select best overall post where the people featured will receive a $250 gift voucher, as will the employing organisation.
Further information including the Terms and Conditions are on the NDS website.
No smartphone to check in? No problem!
A new Check In CBR card is being introduced for those people who don’t own a smartphone or are unable to download or use the Check In CBR app.
The card contains a unique QR code which can be scanned at all businesses and venues across the ACT that currently accept the Check In CBR app.
Checking in will be faster, easier and with private as there is no need for venue staff to manually enter a customer’s details.
For more information on the Check In CBR card, visit the ACT Government COVID-19 website.
COVID-19 Accessible Information & Social Stories
Easy English documents and videos about COVID-19 have been developed for the ACT by Advocacy for Inclusion and are available on their resources page.
Scope Australia have developed some great communication resources for understanding and staying safe from COVID-19.
Scope Australia also provide communication resources to help you understand, explain, and discuss COVID-19 vaccinations. These resources include Easy English documents and Social Stories. Social Stories are used to help someone better understand a specific social situation or idea.
ACT Health has also developed a Social Story for students with disability which is available on the COVID-19-vaccination-social-story webpage.
The Australian Government Department of Health has published a range of Easy Read COVID-19 resources on the Department of Health website.
ACT Official Visitors for Disability Services
The role of Official Visitors for Disability Services is to provide independent oversight of services for people with disability who are receiving daily living supports, hear their concerns and help resolve any complaints. The three Official Visitors for Disability Services are Mary Durkin, Rob Woolley and Tracey Gullo. Official Visitors are appointed by the Minister for Human Rights.
While we are not conducting face-to-face visits during this lockdown, we are still able to hear and help resolve complaints and issues. We are still working to support people with disability, and we can liaise with service provider management and refer to other relevant bodies during lockdown. An Easy Read version of the roles of Official Visitors is available on the Public Trustee and Guardian website.
Any person can contact an Official Visitor to highlight or raise a concern about services, and we then liaise with relevant people to investigate further. This can include the person with disability, workers, family members, guardians, advocates or other supports in a person's life.
There are a number of ways to contact Official Visitors for Disability Services:
- ring 1800 150 036 and following the prompts (the call will be redirected to one of the Official Visitors for Disability Services). This number can also be used with the National Relay Service.
- fill out the online form which can be found on the Public Trustee and Guardian website.
- email firstname.lastname@example.org
Support provided by advocacy organisations
Both Advocacy for Inclusion and ACT Disability Aged and Carer Advocacy Service (ADACAS) continue to provide individual advocacy for people who need assistance.
Advocacy for Inclusion can assist you by providing short term individual advocacy support.
Phone 6257 4005 or email email@example.com
ADACAS provides individual advocacy and may also be able to offer Supported Decision Making to people who may need some additional assistance in regard to consent for vaccination plus support for people in SIL or other accommodation. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 6242 5060.
NDIS COVID-19 Resource Pack and NDIS advice/links
The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) advise they are committed to keeping you up-to-date on available National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) COVID-19 support for NDIS participants and providers:
Latest advice from NDIS – contains the most recent advice and information from the NDIA about COVID-19 response measures.
Information for participants – outlines how the NDIA is supporting participants during the pandemic, including information about plans and plan reviews, temporary supports available and other resources.
More support for people with disability and COVID-19 vaccinations | NDIS includes information on financial payments available to providers supporting NDIS participants to attend COVID-19 vaccination appointments.
Information for providers – outlines how the NDIA is assisting providers during the pandemic, including information about the workforce response service, personal protective equipment and provider obligations.
Information packs –NDIA have collated information on key topics and for different situations to support NDIS participants and their families.
Previous NDIS COVID-19 information sessions for Providers:
ACT COVID-19 disability workforce register
To assist the disability sector to continue to deliver quality supports to those who need it, National Disability Services (NDS) has been funded by the ACT Office for Disability to deliver a service that will link community organisations that have excess workforce with organisations that are having workforce shortages.
The NDS’s matching service will assist organisations who might otherwise have to stand staff down and support any organisations who are experiencing staff shortages.
Any organisation with excess staff with disability support experience or transferrable skills or staff shortages should be encouraged to provide a contact name and details to email@example.com
The NDS COVID-19 Administration Officer will then contact each organisation and facilitate the sharing of support staff.
Transport options for vaccination and testing
There is a list of community transport providers on the Community Services Directorate website. These providers can provide transport to COVID-19 testing and vaccination appointments.
The ACT Taxi Subsidy Scheme (TSS) provides financial assistance to ACT residents with disability or significant mobility restriction that prevent them from using public and community transport. People with disability can access extra trips if the COVID-19 lockdown has impacted their ability to renew their TSS applications. Additional trips can be requested by phoning the ACT Revenues Office on 6207 0028 (Select Option 5, Sub Option 1 - Taxi Subsidy Scheme).
Transport options for NDIS Participants
NDIS participants may use their transport funding to attend vaccination appointments.
NDIS participants living in a residential setting of two or more people with disability can be vaccinated at their residence by a vaccination provider, arranged by the Department of Health.
Supported Independent Living (SIL) providers are being supported by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to facilitate COVID-19 vaccinations for their clients, including provision of transport to and from a vaccination clinic, through a fixed price $150 payment.
Grocery and Medicine Delivery Options
Home Medicine Service
The Home Medicines Service is available from participating pharmacies across Australia. Contact the pharmacy you usually visit to find out more.
Find out more about home medicines service on the Australian Government Department of Health website.
Some community service organisations also do pharmacy delivery. Ask the community organisations you usually visit for assistance.
If you need to order home delivery, there is a range of options to consider through other grocers and independent supermarkets as well as the major supermarkets listed on the Access Help page on the COVID-19 website.
Woolworths grocery delivery for vulnerable customers
Woolworths is providing a Priority Assistance service with dedicated delivery windows for eligible customers which include people with disability, seniors, those with compromised immunity and people who are required to self-isolate.
Woolworths also provide Priority Assistance services to vulnerable business customers which include aged care facilities, childcare centres, disability services, community housing, some charities, and prisons. Register with Woolworths for Priority Assistance
Emergency Food Relief
If you are experiencing hardship and cannot afford to feed your family or yourself during the lockdown in the ACT you can request a food and essential item delivery to your front door for free.
A volunteer will deliver your order to your front door. These volunteers are not permitted to enter your home. If you are unable to collect the delivery from your front door you will need to arrange for a carer or approved visitor to assist you. A limited number of pantry items are available through this service. Fresh produce is not available at this time.
To place an order for emergency food and essential items and to find out what items are available call Volunteering ACT on 1800 43 11 33, on Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm. If the phone is not answered, please leave a message and someone will return your call.
COVID-19 Test - Hardship Isolation Payment
Financial support to isolate while waiting for a test result is available through the ACT Government COVID-19 Test Hardship Isolation Payment. A payment of $270 will be made to eligible workers who isolate while awaiting their COVID 19 test result. This payment covers up to three days in isolation. A range of eligibility criteria apply. Apply for the isolation payment here.
People unable to earn an income because they must isolate, quarantine or care for someone with COVID-19, may be able to access the $1500 Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment from the Australian Government.
Alternative supports are also available for people on visas unable to access the above payments. The Red Cross ACT Migration Support Program Hub on (02) 6234 7695 can assist.
Domestic Violence Services and Support
With the ACT in lockdown, for some, being at home may not be the safest place. If you feel unsafe, you do not need to stay home. Please know that police are available to help you.
If you experience, see or hear family violence occurring call Triple Zero (000) in an emergency or life threatening situation.
For non-urgent police assistance call 131 444.
Domestic Violence Crisis Service has created an Easy English document sharing tips on how to stay safe while in your home and information about how to contact them for help if you cannot telephone them. The Domestic Violence Crisis Service ACT crisis line (6280 0900) is also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The Easy English document is available here Ways to increase safety during Covid-19 (dvcs.org.au)
Activity and connection ideas during lockdown
ACT Health has a webpage dedicated to Supporting others and their mental health and wellbeing.
The Australian Red Cross has some tips for staying happy and hopeful during lockdown.
Queensland Government’s activities for a stronger mental wellbeing resource has many ideas for goals and activities for people to try in lockdown.
Carers ACT – Self-care tips and ideas for carers
Useful links and websites
You can also call the National Coronavirus and COVID-19 Vaccine Helpline which operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 1800 020 080. Contact details are also found here: National coronavirus and COVID-19 vaccine helpline
To connect to disability information and services you can call the National Disability Gateway on 1800 643 787. The Disability Gateway also includes a website at
For emergency respite, you can call your local Carer Gateway Service Provider 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 1800 422 737. Contact details are also found here: Contact Carers ACT
If you have any further questions that have not been addressed after reading the ACT Health information, please contact the Office for Disability at firstname.lastname@example.org or 6207 1086.