Victorian Disability Rapid Response Group established
At the recent webinar Phil O’Meara, Director, Disability and Communities Branch, DHHS set out the Department’s response to service providers.
The newly established Disability Rapid Response Group (DRRG) will provide dedicated capability to support COVID-19 outbreak management throughout the course of an outbreak in a disability setting, including the allocation of a ‘Disability Incident Case Manager’.
The aim of the DRRG is to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of people with disability and staff in impacted service settings to contain, control and end outbreaks as quickly and safely as possible; and through preventative strategies, minimise the likelihood of an outbreak.
- Supporting prevention and preparedness activities through coordination of visits to disability residential services, and dissemination of resources and tools to the sector
- Coordination between the NDIA, NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission and Department of Social Services that specifies roles and responsibilities in jointly managing COVID-19 outbreaks within residential services
- Working with each provider to determine appropriate support response based on public health requirements and clinical advice, including assistance with infection prevention and control; PPE; workforce; communications; supporting residents at the facility
- Facilitating access to clinical services
- Assisting with any emergency disability accommodation arrangements
Supporting a timely response to outbreaks
To assist DRRG in rapidly responding to cases of COVID-19 within residential services, providers will need to email the Department directly upon receiving advice about a positive COVID-19 test. This includes if the advice was received directly from an employee, medical professional supporting a resident or from the Department's Tracing Team. Providers supporting participants in other settings are also asked to alert the Department in the event of a positive test.
DRRG will follow up with individual services to quickly assess priority issues and needs. The team will work closely with contact tracing and outbreak management to ensure an integrated and coordinated response. This additional notification process will complement advice on new cases that the Department receives directly from the NDIS Commission. Providers of transfer services should continue to report as per existing reporting mechanisms.
The assessment by the public health outbreak management team will guide the extent of support provided, which may be phone-based or on-site support where necessary. This may include:
- support to the service provider to implement their outbreak management plan and immediate actions as recommended by the public health team
- provision of disability-specific advice to support the implementation of recommended outbreak management actions
- seeking advice from the Office of Professional Practice where residents exhibit behaviours of concern or there are restrictive intervention implications
- assistance with processes to access priority testing, in reach nursing or emergency accommodation to meet isolation requirements, if required
- work with the NDIA as necessary to ensure necessary adjustments to an individual’s plans for continued necessary supports
- support communication and problem-solving between the service provider, the public health outbreak team and the NDIA