Subtitles and Closed Captions
Phase 2: Targeted Action Stage: Suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection of people with disability.
Aim: Optimise health and support responses to help recovery and minimise further transmission.
Reviewing previously implemented actions.
Triaging patients and potential patients.
Early identification of cases and treatment of confirmed cases.
Manage and support the health and disability workforce, including carers and support workers.
Review “Phase 1” steps above.
2. Triage patients and potential patients.
Individuals and health services to use videoconferencing, telehealth consultations,
including Healthdirect if appropriate, to enable assessment of people with disability
in a way which minimises disruption, and the need for transportation.
Access to Translation Information Services (TIS) for people with disability -
is prioritised to support effective communication during any triage process.
Enable people with disability and those supporting them to access diagnostic testing including:
Providing information to patients in a format that is appropriate to their needs (easy read, braille, Auslan).
Ensuring those providing disability supports know how to support a person who requires testing,
and how to respond should there be a positive test result.
Developing advice sheets for GPs and clinics around testing considerations.
Providing accessible testing.
For people presenting with respiratory symptoms,
use respiratory/fever clinics with heightened infection prevention and control capacity to:
Redirect demand for face-to-face services away from emergency departments
and usual primary health care providers for respiratory presentations.
Reduce transmission risk by focussing care for respiratory presentations in a dedicated setting.
Enable specialist expertise to be sourced for risk factors affecting people with disability.
Maximise efficient use of PPE supply.
Enable people to be accompanied by families, carers or support workers (if required).
Where respiratory/fever clinics are not available, prepare local clinics with access to appropriate -
PPE and containment measures. This may include: educating staff on the risk factors for -
people with disability; notices; screening; and reducing the number of visitors/other patients in the clinic.
Consider the health needs of people with disability in remote retrieval and remote primary care service -
planning and delivery, including linking with the strategies in the Management Plan -
for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities.
3. Early identification of cases and treatment of confirmed cases.
Should COVID-19 be suspected or detected:
1) Contact relevant state/territory public health units to assess risk,
and consider mobilising additional staffing to assist in testing,
treating and adjustments to formal and informal supports as required to maintain continuity
of disability supports during assessment and post-diagnosis
treat people with symptoms which fit the clinical case definition until laboratory confirmation of the case,
and instigate infection control measures including isolation logistics
in the context of the person’s living arrangements.
3) Reduce the risk of severe complications by rapid testing and assessment,
clinically appropriate treatment of cases with specific clinical criteria relating to
the person’s other health care and disability requirements.
4) If laboratory confirmation of the case is received,
instigate infection control measures,
including isolation of confirmed cases and contact management to maintain or enhance critical supports,
in accordance with guidelines.
Families, carers, support workers and organisations to consider how they will
support individuals or households who are in quarantine or self-isolating, including:
access to meals which meet dietary requirements;
access to activities to engage the person;
facilitating communication between the person and their families and friends;
and assisting the person to maintain personal hygiene.
Rapid triage and response when people with disability present to EDs, clinics and paramedics.
To support effective responses, develop and disseminate advice sheets which assist health care staff
to adjust their practice to support people with disability in EDs,
clinics and other settings during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To ensure overall health and COVID-19 specific care needs are communicated efficiently,
provide updated individual health care plans to ED and other first responders.
Establish a national network of experts in
disability-related health care to provide telephone and online support.
We would need to think over:
The person with disability, their families or guardians should be part
of decision-making around quarantine and self-isolation, including:
individual home isolation, communal isolation in common property, using temporary accommodation
In-home medical support & if required, increase behaviour support strategies
to minimise the use of additional restrictive practices.
Alternative support settings should be considered if:
Severe cases of people with COVID-19 require transition to a tertiary facility.
Where isolation is not an option.
Where the person infected lives with others who are more vulnerable to severe effects
of exposure to COVID-19, including death,
where a person wishes to temporarily relocate to avoid the risk of infection.
People with disability may present frequently to ED.
Past inpatient experiences may affect the willingness of a person to present if COVID-19 symptoms present.
Some people with disability may experience diagnostic overshadowing -
(by support workers, and healthcare workers in EDs, ICUs and other tertiary settings)
or experience more rapid clinical and behavioural deterioration.
These issues could, in some instances, place the person, or health workers, and other patients at risk.
Support equitable access to health care including ICU treatment, and triaging of care for people with disability.
Support discharge planning for people with disability and where appropriate,
include support workers and families in the process.
For residential support settings:
Sample procedures and protocols are widely available for service -
providers to use in the event of a suspected or confirmed case.
Establishing a support worker network which enables rapid -
deployment of staff to replace support workers who may be required to isolate.
4. Manage and support health and disability workforce, and informal supporters
Implement surge workforce options, such as sourcing nursing or other support staff to assist with the health
care needs of a person with disability if their families,
carers and/or support workers have confirmed COVID-19 infection.
Develop guidelines for the best use of the limited supply of PPE.
Develop options for technology and equipment, including telehealth,
to enable remote monitoring of patients, particularly for people remaining in their home environment,
and people living in rural and regional settings.