NDIS release

COVID-19 Vaccines: Guidance on informed consent, preparing for the vaccine and restrictive practices

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We have developed a fact sheet to help NDIS providers to understand your obligations when supporting people with disability to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Key points

·       Receiving the COVID-19 vaccination is voluntary.

·       NDIS participants must have the opportunity to provide informed consent for any medical treatments or procedures, including the COVID-19 vaccine.

·       People with disability who receive behaviour supports may need a regulated restrictive practice to enable them to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. Any use of these must comply with requirements in the NDIS (Restrictive Practices and Behaviour Support) Rules 2018.

·       If restrictive practices are not used in accordance with a behaviour support plan and/or without authorisation from the relevant state or territory, it is a reportable incident to the NDIS Commission.

The fact sheet is for all registered providers of NDIS supports and services and we encourage you to read it in full.

It complements guidance and resources developed by the Department of Health, including consent forms, to support participants receiving a COVID-19 vaccination.

For more information about the vaccine roll out

More information will be posted on the Department of Health dedicated web page for people with disability when it becomes available. We strongly encourage you to visit this page regularly.

NDIS Commission COVID-19 information and resources

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) information webpage on the NDIS Commission website contains links to updates, training, alerts and other resources.

We also have a COVID-19 webpage containing information for people with disability, and a webpage of frequently asked questions about COVID-19 for all stakeholders.

NDIS participants can also obtain information from the dedicated COVID-19 webpage for participants, which has been published by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).

Contact Us

Call: 1800 035 544 (free call from landlines). Our contact centre is open 9.00am to 5.00pm (9.00am to 4.30pm in the NT), Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays.

Email: contactcentre@ndiscommission.gov.au

Website: www.ndiscommission.gov.au

Melanie RobertsonCOVID-19 Vaccines: Guidance on informed consent, preparing for the vaccine and restrictive practices
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NDIS market continues to grow

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NDIS market continues to grow

Details of how the NDIS performed between 1 October and 31 December 2020 are now available in the latest Quarterly Report.

Around $5.5 billion in total was spent on participant supports this quarter. The average payment to participants has increased over the 3 years from $35,400 in 2017 to $52,300 in 2020. The average plan budget has increased by 22% over the same time to $71,200.

Features of the latest report:

  • We now have 432,649 NDIS participants.
  • More than 21,000 people joined the NDIS this quarter, 35% of whom were aged 0 to 6.
  • More participants with psychosocial disability are joining the NDIS – 14.1% of new participants this quarter, compared to 9.8% in previous quarters combined.
  • COVID-19 infection rates among NDIS participants are 2.5 times lower than the general population.
  • 80% of adults aged 25 and above think the NDIS helped them have more choices and more control over their life.
  • 70% of parents of school children aged up to 14 think the NDIS helped their child to become more independent.

More information on providers and the growing market is available in part 4 of the report, including:

  • regions where plan utilisation is below the national average
  • regions where a small number of providers are receiving a large amount of the payments – indicating less competition
  • trial projects to address market gaps.

We are committed to continuing to improve the NDIA so it is simpler, faster, fairer and more flexible. An NDIS 2020 year in review summary is also on the NDIS website.

Read the Quarterly Report and 2020 in review.

Melanie RobertsonNDIS market continues to grow
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COVID-19 vaccination program – webinar and more

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The COVID-19 vaccination program was rolled out to a small number of disability residential accommodation sites last week.

People with disability received the Pfizer vaccine and some staff were able to receive the vaccine where additional vaccines were available onsite.

The Department of Health is seeking feedback from the disability providers where the vaccinations occurred to ensure lessons learnt are incorporated and continuous improvement is part of the rollout.

Consultations with key stakeholders were also held last week to assist the Department of Health to inform the Phase 1a roll-out to the disability sector over the coming weeks.

Phase 1a disability sector webinar – Thursday 4 March 2021

A webinar will be held for disability providers and peak bodies to provide up-to-date information on the Phase 1a COVID-19 vaccine rollout to the disability sector.

This webinar will be chaired by Professor Michael Kidd AM, with other panellists Ms Lisa Peterson (Department of Health, Assistant Secretary, Aged Care and Disability – Vaccine Taskforce), Dr Jeffrey Chan (Senior Practitioner, NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission) and Mr Eric Thauvette (CEO, Hartley Life Care).

Ms Peterson will provide an overview of the Phase 1a COVID-19 vaccine rollout to the disability sector. Dr Chan will provide information on informed consent and the principles of supported decision making. Mr Thauvette will provide an overview of the Phase 1a COVID-19 vaccine rollout from the perspective of a disability provider, including what to prepare before receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

To tune in and ask questions live this Thursday, please click on the following link:

This webinar will be Auslan interpreted.

People don’t need to register beforehand and they can be anonymous when asking a question if they wish.

The webinar will be published on the Department of Health’s website so people can watch it after the event when it’s convenient.

Disability provider COVID-19 vaccine readiness toolkit available this week

The Department of Health will this week be publishing a toolkit to support disability providers to get ready for the vaccine. The toolkit includes:

  • Information on what to expect on COVID-19 vaccination day at your disability residential accommodation (information for people with disability, families and carers)
  • Checklist for planning and delivering vaccinations
  • Information on roles and responsibilities for COVID-19 vaccination at disability residential accommodation sites
  • Information on site readiness requirements for vaccination sites
  • Consent guidance material

A link to the toolkit will be provided in the next Disability Provider Alert.

Vaccine eligibility checker

The Department of Health has developed an online tool to assist people to understand the phased rollout.

Visit Vaccines Eligibility Checker (healthdirect.gov.au)

The Department of Health is aware that many people, including disability providers, may still have questions about the specific details around priority groups. We are working hard to clarify these details as soon as possible.

Phase 1a: COVID-19 vaccine – data collection

Thank you to those who have responded to the previous request to provide data to support Phase 1a of the COVID-19 vaccines national rollout.

If you have not provided data or need to update your data, the data collection form will now be available on an ongoing basis to allow for updating of critical information to support the continued COVID-19 vaccines national rollout planning for residential disability accommodation settings eligible in Phase 1a.

If you provide residential disability accommodation and have not yet responded, please provide all the requested information for each of your sites by using the online form.

Further information on the scope of this request can be found in the original provider alert from the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission.

Your response to this request remains critical to ensure people in priority groups can be offered the vaccines at the earliest opportunity and to avoid any impact on the timing for vaccinations to be administered at your sites.

If you have already responded no further action is required.

More information

Australian Government, state and territory government helplines will have information on how people with disability can access the vaccine when it becomes available.

Phone the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080, and ask for an interpreter if needed.

Visit the Department of Health’s Information for people with disability about COVID-19 vaccines webpage. This page will be updated regularly.

Visit the Safe Work Australia website to find work health and safety contact information in your jurisdiction.

COVID-19 vaccine information for people with disability
Melanie RobertsonCOVID-19 vaccination program – webinar and more
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COVID normal – support measures

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The NDIA has reviewed all temporary COVID-19 measures to determine what is needed to safely deliver NDIS supports and services as restrictions around Australia ease.

The NDIS Price Guide, Support Catalogue and website will be updated on Monday 1 March 2021.

The following 'COVID normal' changes to the NDIS Price Guide are effective from Monday 1 March 2021:

Low cost assistive technology (AT) will remain in place

• Participant access to low cast AT will continue and be monitored as participants and providers adapt to COVID normal.
• All low cost AT purchases should be made in consultation with a participant’s existing provider.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) for support workers – extended until 31 March 2021 with a reduced price limit

• In areas where a state or territory public health order requires PPE for workers delivering disability supports, providers can claim the cost of support worker PPE against the participant’s plan until 31 March 2021.
• At this time, Victoria is the only state in Australia with this requirement.
• Providers in restricted areas who deliver essential services in certain Assistance with Daily Life support categories can claim PPE against a participant’s plan for up to $27 per worker, per participant, per day, for supports delivered in person.
• Providers and participants should discuss and agree to any proposed price changes before updating service bookings.
• The PPE price limit reduction from $50 to $27 per participant, per worker, per day reflects current market pricing and use of disposable masks rather than N95 masks.
• Participants in restricted areas who receive 1 hour a day or more of face-to-face daily living support, can claim up to $50 per week for PPE from their consumables budget, disability-related health consumables – low cost support item.

Clinical support for supported independent living (SIL) providers – extended until 30 June 2021

• The provision of a clinical first responder service for SIL providers has been extended nationally until 30 June 2021.

Support coordination temporary line items – ending on 28 February 2021

• The temporary line items for support coordination in Core – Assistance with Daily Life, will end on 28 February 2021.
• Support coordination will still be available for all participants who have a reasonable and necessary need for it, from their Capacity Building budget.

National workforce supply service – ended on 14 February 2021

• This service was available from 20 November 2020 to 14 February 2021.

Cleaning and higher intensity supports for participants – extended until 30 June 2021

• COVID-19 positive participants living in SIL arrangements can access cleaning services and higher intensity support. These supports are also available to participants living in SIL who are required to self-isolate or quarantine.
• If a participant has a support worker attending their home who later tests positive to COVID-19, the participant can access a one-off deep clean.

The NDIS Price Guide and Support Catalogue and information on the SIL and Low cost AT pages of the NDIS website will be updated on 1 March 2021.

COVID normal supports news item

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COVID-19 Vaccines roll-out: Updated information from the Australian Government Department of Health

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Australia’s COVID-19 Vaccination Program commenced this week. The Australian Government Department of Health (Department of Health) have issued updated information for disability providers.

Key points

  • The Department of Health have issued a Disability Provider Alert. This factsheet resource contains information about the Phase 1a rollout, including next steps, obtaining consent, and resources available. It can be viewed on our website.
  • The NDIS Commission is supporting the Australian Government Department of Health COVID-19 vaccine roll-out by sharing relevant information.
  • Providers may receive this factsheet from other government agencies.

Disability Provider Alert Factsheet

The Department of Health have issued a Disability Provider Alert. This factsheet contains the following information and advice:

  • Providers involved with the first week of Phase 1a vaccinations have been contacted by the Department of Health.
  • The Department of Health will contact you to discuss preparing your disability accommodation residence for vaccinations, but there are steps you can take now.
  • Providers are encouraged to talk to the people with disability you support and your workers about getting vaccinated.
  • The Department of Health website has a range of resources about the COVID-19 vaccines. These resources include Easy Read and Auslan resources for people with disability.

We encourage you to read this factsheet and share these resources with the people with disability you support.

You are also strongly encouraged to talk to the people with disability you support and your workers about getting the vaccine.

How the NDIS Commission is supporting the vaccine roll-out

The NDIS Commission is supporting the Australian Government Department of Health COVID-19 vaccine roll-out by sharing relevant information with registered NDIS providers that has been developed by other Australian Government agencies, including the Australian Government Department of Health.

Providers may receive this factsheet from other government agencies, including the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).

NDIS Commission COVID-19 information and resources

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) information webpage on the NDIS Commission website contains links to updates, training, alerts and other resources.

We also have a COVID-19 webpage containing information for people with disability, and a webpage of frequently asked questions about COVID-19 for all stakeholders.

NDIS participants can also obtain information from the dedicated COVID-19 webpage for participants, which has been published by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).

Contact Us

Call: 1800 035 544 (free call from landlines). Our contact centre is open 9am to 4.30pm in the NT, 9.00am to 5.00pm in all other states and territories Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays.

Email: contactcentre@ndiscommission.gov.au

Website: www.ndiscommission.gov.au

Melanie RobertsonCOVID-19 Vaccines roll-out: Updated information from the Australian Government Department of Health
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