Immediate action is needed to deal with unique complexities in the disability sector that are leaving Victorians with a disability and their caregivers at unacceptable risk of the serious health impacts of COVID-19.
Providers and health professionals are calling for a plan to ensure the challenges in the disability sector are not overlooked.
Victorians with a disability are in the high risk category of complications from coronavirus, but providers have reported a critical lack of access to desperately-needed household cleaning products and hand sanitiser.
This heightens the risk for Victorians with a disability who require frequent, close contact as part of their care as it’s not possible to comply with key preventative measures like social distancing.
Urgent consideration must be given to fast-tracking test results so that in cases where a test returns negative, staff and caregivers can immediately get back to providing urgently needed care. This will be critical in locations where transition to the NDIS has left staffing challenges and certain clients are more vulnerable.
There also needs to be a discussion and direction on how to deal with a person with special needs who has been diagnosed or is going through the diagnosis process, as it is not easy to isolate a person for a period of time who may have certain behaviours or anxieties.
The Centre of Research Excellence in Disability and Health has called for the Government to take “urgent action…to develop a targeted response” to assist people with disabilities and their families.
The disability sector must get clarity and support from the Andrews Labor Government to make sure we minimise the risk to Victorians with a disability and take every opportunity to protect people from this pandemic.
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