Does your household include a disabled person or someone with a long term health condition?
Te toia, te haumatia – Nothing can be achieved without a plan and a way of doing things
The Ministry of Health has prepared advice and a checklist to assist households to plan for Covid-19 in the community.
Te Whatu Ora has developed additional advice, based on lived experience of disabled people. We encourage you to
- record relevant information in one place
- stock up on necessary supplies
- make those connections with people who can support you, and you can support
- make contact with care agencies, especially those who come to your home, and have their emergency contact details.
If someone in your household tests positive for COVID-19, they must self-isolate for at least 7 days while they recover. Day 0 is the day symptoms started or when that person tested positive, whichever came first. Household Contacts do not need to isolate. They should test daily for 5 days. You will receive a package of supplies, instructions, and a health diary.
You need to be ready to provide a lot of information when asked by your GP, so you can continue to receive the essential care and supports you usually receive at home. It will also enable them to monitor you and provide COVID-19 related care if needed.
We recommend that you start with the standard advice from Be prepared for COVID-19, and stay safe. Then add any other information which applies to your household, as described below:
Collect in one easily accessible place, information on:
Who is in your household? For each member record their
- NHI number
- Email address/s
- Date of Birth
- Phone number/s
- Medical conditions and disabilities
- Communication needs eg language/NZSL/relay/large print information/please text
- Employer/workplace/school contact details
- Next of kin/guardian/emergency contact details
Now write down the usual care and support arrangements for each member of your household, including contact and other details (for support purposes)
- Name of GP and other Doctors
- Medical supply/consumables provider/s, how, what and when this is supplied
- Care and support agencies and what services they provide to your household
- Who funds this care and support? Ministry of Health Disability Support Services (DSS)? Health NZ? IF? ACC? Other?
- Upcoming medical and other appointments – who will check if these are going ahead, postponed or modified e.g. via phone
- Care and support workers who come to your home (either employed by an agency or under Individualised Funding (IF)
- Cultural and/or church affiliations
- Mental health clinical care and support
- Mobility and other equipment suppliers
- Meals on Wheels
- Lifelinks contact
What if a disabled person needs to go to hospital?
Be prepared to give ambulance or medical staff the information they need to know immediately what will help keep the disabled person safe, move them safely, and enable medical staff to communicate with them effectively.
Make a list now, or pack a ‘going to hospital supplies’ kit. Will you need to bring hearing aids, glasses, a wheelchair, mobility aid, or a communication device?
Make a list of contact details for everyone who would need to know the person is going/has gone to hospital.
Identify any questions you need to ask if someone is admitted to hospital, for example
- How will communication needs be met?
- Will there be an alternating air mattress (to prevent pressure injuries developing in someone with limited mobility)?
- What are the visiting/support rules for your situation? Restricted visiting is likely to be in place to help prevent COVID-19 spreading to vulnerable patients.
- Will the person’s usual clinicians be involved in their care?
Write down household instructions like caring for pets, plants and paying bills for someone else to follow.
What if a household member needs to go to hospital?
Make sure to explain the care arrangements in your household when asked - that is, who cares for whom. If a disabled person relies on someone who can no longer care for them, make this concern known.
- Have an extra copy of any service plans to provide on request, and be ready to send via email.
- Check and replenish usual medications and medical supplies – have extras, especially prescription medications that you might not be able to obtain easily if you run out.
- Check and replenish PPE. This is available from care and support agencies, who obtain it from the Ministry of Health.
- Find out about pulse oximeters and Rapid Antigen Testing. If needed, you will be given these, along with instructions on how to use. There is a good pulse oximeter video at https://www.cdhb.health.nz/your-health/covid-19-care-in-the-community/
- Take the initiative: Ask questions and express concerns – to your GP, your home care agency or anyone else who supports you.
- Speak up if existing or promised services are not provided as needed.