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NDS is hosting a webinar with DHHS on Tuesday 4 August on Stage 4 restrictions and disability services
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Helpdesk Top 5: July 2020

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The NDS helpdesk has been busy this month responding to your NDIS and sector-related questions. Unsurprisingly, the majority of questions were COVID-19 related. This article has Victorian specific questions to start, followed by nationally applicable questions and answers.


The following questions and responses apply to organisations operating in Victoria.

Question 1:

In Victoria, can a support worker in an ADE or a Centre Based Support setting wear a reusable cloth mask instead of a disposable mask?

Answer 1:

All disability support workers are required to wear a single-use surgical mask when at work at all times. This applies across the whole of Victoria. Face masks at work: frequently asked questions for disability support workers (COVID-19) 22 July 2020 

Question 2:

Which Victorian Care Facilities Directions are in place and do they apply to short term accommodation?

Answer 2:

Care Facilities Directions Number 8 is currently in force and will remain in force until 16 August 2020. 

A care facility is a facility in Victoria that is:

  • an alcohol and drug residential service
  • a homelessness residential service
  • a residential aged care facility
  • a disability residential service
  • an eligible SDA enrolled dwelling
  • a secure welfare service
  • a short-term accommodation and assistance dwelling
  • a supported residential service
  • the Thomas Embling Hospital


The following questions and responses apply across Australia.

Question 3:

Who is responsible for providing PPE to staff, is it the participant through their core consumables budget or the service provider?

Answer 3:

It is the organisation's responsibility to ensure staff are equipped with PPE. From 29 July 2020, NDIS providers and participants in Victoria and NSW can claim for PPE for face-to-face daily living supports.

Question 4:

We are having trouble accessing PPE – can NDS help?

Answer 4:

Yes, NDS members can access PPE stock at member-only rates. Including, hand sanitiser, disposable masks, disposable gloves and touchless digital infrared forehead thermometer and other items. Further information available on the NDS COVID-19 Hub.

Question 5:

What is the COVID-19 Health Professionals Disability Advisory service?

Answer 5: 

This telephone advisory service has been established by the Commonwealth Department of Health to provide specialised advice for health professionals involved in the care of people with disability diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19) or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. 

Some people with disability may become anxious in these situations and require reasonable adjustments to their healthcare to ensure they receive coronavirus (COVID-19) testing or treatment, with minimum distress. Specific support may be required to address communication and management issues, such as behaviours of concern and the reduction of risk to the patient and staff involved in the process.

Calls to the Advisory Service will be answered by health professionals with disability service qualifications and experience working with people with disability.

Health professionals can phone the service on 1800 131 330, seven days a week, between 7.00am and 11.00pm AEST. Further information on the Australian Government Department of Health website

If you’re an NDS member and have a question of your own – please post it on the NDS Helpdesk.

Contact information

For any enquiries, please contact Savannah Jewell, Senior Policy and Project Officer, SDA, 03 8341 4300,