At least two people linked to residential disability accommodation have died from coronavirus and there are dozens of active cases in that setting, as fears grow about vulnerable residents facing similar dangers to people in nursing homes.
More than 70 cases of coronavirus have been recorded in disability care in Victoria, and advocates fear the sector could be headed for a similar crisis to aged care without greater support. Women with Disabilities Victoria chief executive Leah Van Poppel said the disability community was worried about the spread of the virus in group homes that support people with disabilities.
With multiple cases of COVID-19 emerging in the disability sector in Victoria, the Health Service Union (HSU National) and its Victorian disability branch the Health and Community Services Union (HACSU) are urging the Federal and Victorian Governments to act quickly to prevent another aged care tragedy.
With good quality relationships, children and young adults with cognitive disability feel “valued, respected and cared about” in their daily lives and, in turn, give carers more job satisfaction and self-respect, international researchers say in a new paper published in the international Disability & Society journal.
Residents and workers in group homes for people with disabilities face “a looming emergency” due to lack of training in use of personal protective equipment and inadequate preparation to combat coronavirus infection. Outbreaks of COVID-19 similar to those in 87 Victorian aged care homes were likely in the disability care sector unless nurses were brought in for training, according to the director of the Disability Institute at the University of Melbourne, Professor Anne Kavanagh.
A carer for disabled Adelaide woman Ann Marie Smith has been charged with manslaughter over the 54-year-old’s death. She is expected to appear in Adelaide Magistrates Court on Thursday or Friday.
Victorian disability advocacy organisations are calling on the Commonwealth and State Governments to give urgent priority to protecting people with disability from the grave risks of a COVID-19 outbreak, including residents in Victoria’s 800 disability group homes.
Regional Disability Advocacy Service executive officer Martin Butcher said people had been overwhelmed by the ‘border resident’ zone and permit application system. “Care workers who go into people’s homes are having difficulty moving from one side of the border to the other,” he said.
Micaela speaks with Arthur Rogers, Victorian Disability Services Commissioner. As Arthur finished this role last month, he reflects on his leadership experience through transformational times and discusses the lessons he has learnt. With restrictions in place, Arthur discusses the impact it will have on people, especially those whose interactions are already limited. As Arthur acknowledges that these are challenging times for everybody, he talks about the key things to focus on and gives his advice on managing during these times.
Former Dignity Party MLC and disability advocate Kelly Vincent said the accreditations were “not a magic bullet, but they are a legal requirement”. “We need the State Government to stop pretending that everything to do with the human rights and lives of disabled people is a Federal responsibility just because of the NDIS.
The ABC has spoken to a number of casual staff in aged care and disability who said they had gone to work with symptoms of the virus because they could not afford to take two weeks off without pay, and were not eligible for sick leave or annual leave.
The families of disability service clients in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley say Scope Australia’s decision to relocate its activity service will severely limit their children’s ability to undertake activities in the community.
The survey picked up extreme anxiety among workers about their safety in the workplace and the safety of their clients,” Dr Cortis says. “Many described working with very little support, and a lack of personal protective equipment. They also felt stretched, as they lacked access to the additional resources needed to properly support people with disabilities adjust to safe distancing measures.”
Victorians with a disability will have greater protections thanks to new safeguards introduced by the Victorian Government, which commence today under the new Victorian Disability Worker Commission. The safeguards are part of the Government’s zero-tolerance approach to neglect and abuse of people with disability, developed in response to recommendations of the Victorian Parliament’s 2016 Inquiry into Abuse in Disability Services.
All disability workers in Victoria will need to abide by a new code of conduct as part of a plan to better protect people with disability from harm and abuse. Victoria’s Disability Worker Regulation Scheme begins on 1 July, bringing into effect a code of conduct, mandatory notification requirements for providers and workers around safety concerns, and an independent complaints service.