Alert Level 3 - Disability Support Services

Essential personal care services, such as toileting, washing and feeding, are provided as usual. Some home help, such as house cleaning, may be available, depending on individual circumstances.

Urgent disability related equipment will be provided.

Wearing a mask (which may be either disposable or washable) if in ongoing close contact with others is now advised as well. 

Essential disability services can continue to operate, for example, to provide urgent disability related equipment.

Disability services where people from different bubbles group together are closed. This includes day services and facility-based respite.

If you live in Auckland and you receive disability support through the Taikura Trust and you or your carers need Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as masks, gowns and/or gloves, the Ministry of Health have put out an information sheet about how to access PPE. (Word Doc)



For people who employ their own support workers

During COVID-19 changes have been made to how you can use your funding. These changes provide more flexibility and continue to be in place until 30 September 2020. 

Buying things

You can continue to use your funding to buy things that you couldn’t before COVID-19. For example:
- to pay for grocery delivery rather than pay a care or support worker to help you with shopping
- to buy things that will help you stay in touch with others during COVID-19 (for example, a tablet for video messaging), to improve your skills, do activities in your home, or support you family and whānau to continue to do their care and support role.

Talk to your IF Host or Coach, your Connector or Kaitūhono about what is reasonable for you to buy. 

If your support worker can’t come to work

In Alert Level 3, your support workers must not come to work if they or someone they live with:
- could be sick with COVID-19 
- have had close contact with someone with COVID-19
- are at higher risk of severe illness if they contract COVID-19, or
- if the worker is aged 70 years or older.

If any of these apply, you should discuss and agree with your support worker, and their employer if they have one, that they must not come to your home to work.

In Alert Level 3, you can apply to the Ministry of Social Development for funding for support workers who cannot work. This funding is called COVID-19 Leave Support. You can apply for this funding here.

If you ask a support worker to not provide support during Alert Level 3

To keep your bubble safe, you may want to reduce the number of support workers who provide support to you during Alert Level 3. If this is the case, you will need to get your support workers’ agreement. This may include agreeing to changes in hours or days worked within your allocated support hours. You must comply with the employment agreements you have in place, and provide any relevant notice period, prior to making the change.

You will also need to continue to talk to support workers you do not need to come to your home.
If you ask a support worker not to come to your home during Alert level 3, you will still have to pay the support worker for the period of time they are not required. Keep a record of the special leave that you have paid. This record will be used by the NASC who will need to review your funding if you have spent it early because of extra costs during Alert Level 4. Make sure you talk to your IF Coach or Host, Connector or Kaitūhono. 

You can also find out more about making changes to your support worker hours at the Employment New Zealand website.

If you want to continue to have a smaller number of support workers after Alert Level 3 is over, then you must go through a proper employment process with your support workers. Make sure you also talk to your IF Host or Coach, Connector or Kaitūhono.

Find out more about terminating an employment agreement.

If your funding runs out or expires

If your funding runs out because you’ve had to pay support workers who are on special leave during Covid-19, the Ministry of Health may be able to start your next budget earlier. Please contact your NASC, Connector or Kaitūhono if you need to do this. You will need to keep a record of the extra costs you have had to pay to be able to do this.

Keeping you and your support workers safe  

If your support worker also provides supports to other people, they should take precautions to work safely with you. Working safely means keeping two metres (while outdoors) or one metre (indoors) away from you, washing and drying their hands thoroughly, coughing or sneezing into a tissue or their elbow, and/or wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) like gloves and a mask if they can’t maintain a safe physical distance from you. They must also not visit you if they, or you, are unwell, or have been in contact with someone who is unwell or has Covid-19 symptoms.




Facility-based respite

Facility-based respite services will be closed at Alert Level 3. People are encouraged to consider alternative ways to access respite (through virtual supports, or accessing alternative supports through flexible funding options).

Carer Support

You can use Carer Support more flexibly so that:

- relief care can be used when you are doing your other paid work (even if you are working from home)

- you can use your Carer Support funding to buy things that will provide you with respite, as long as you stay within your total budget. Examples are art and craft supplies, books or DVDs.

To claim your Carer Support, please send in your Carer Support forms as usual and, if possible, attach receipts for any goods you have purchased.

If you have not received any relief care, you do not need a signature from a relief carer on your Carer Support forms. Payments will continue to be made in half days or days as usual.

Other ways of getting a break during Alert Level 3

Some options to access respite during Alert Level 3 are:

- Consider asking someone within your bubble to help you have a break

- Consider extending your bubble to someone who can help you have a break

- Consider using your Carer Support more flexibly

- Specialist Behaviour Support is available over the phone. You can call 0800 000 421 to receive wellbeing and behaviour support advice and support from Explore Behaviour Specialists. You can call from 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday.

Carers NZ also has some information about respite.

If you are concerned about your wellbeing or the wellbeing of your family or whānau, and/or feel desperate for support you should talk to your NASC immediately. Emergency respite within a disability support service may be available. You should make your concerns clear when you talk to your NASC.



NASC services

NASCs will provide their services in alternative ways (e.g. virtually, remotely). Limited visits are allowed under Alert Level 3 if this can be done safely, ensuring physical distancing, good hygiene and infection control practices, and the ability to support contact tracing.



Equipment and Modification services

Equipment and modification services are essential. Under Alert Level 3, essential equipment can be provided that can be delivered to a person's home and safely set up by the people in that home.

Providing more complex equipment will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Urgent housing modifications that can be done safely can go ahead.

Vehicle modification requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.



Supported Living providers, Home and Community Support Services and Choice in Community Living providers

All community services that provide essential personal care to people (e.g. help with toileting, showering etc) can continue with use of PPE.

Service visits, where possible, will be limited to those that can be undertaken safely (that maintain physical distancing, good hygiene and infection control practices, and support contact tracing).

Household management is allowed where the disabled person’s wellbeing is at risk without it and can be decided on a case-by-case basis.

Those services that can work from home, without face-to face-visits, should do so unless deemed essential.



Behaviour support services

Specialist Behaviour Support is available over the phone. Whānau and support workers can call 0800 000 421 to receive wellbeing and behaviour support advice and support from Explore Behaviour Specialists. You can call from 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday.

You can find out more, and access some resources, here: https://www.healthcarenz.co.nz/explore-specialist-advice/



Day services

These services will remain closed at Alert Level 3. Services should provide support in alternative ways.



Audiology services

Face to face assessments can only be provided for urgent care. E.g. a condition that is life or limb threatening or, treatment required to maintain the necessities of life or,

treatment that cannot be delayed or carried out remotely without risk of significant harm or permanent and/or significant disability


that cannot be delivered by a service that is currently operating or by health professionals that are already in contact with the person.

Virtual appointments will be provided where possible.



Community residential services

Community residential services continue to operate throughout all COVID-19 alert levels.

During Alert Level 3 some visitors are allowed. Visitors must contact the home before visiting, so that the number of people visiting at any one time can be minimised.

Your residential provider will let you know how they plan to manage visits safely, eg. physical distancing rules, keeping records of who has visited for contact tracing etc.

Disabled people, families, whānau, aiga and disability providers need to discuss and agree together who can visit, and what everyone needs to do to keep that bubble safe. They should consider if they (or someone else in the home) are at high-risk of severe illness from Covid-19 (https://covid19.govt.nz/individuals-and-households/health-and-wellbeing/vulnerable-people/),

Anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms, have been in contact with someone with COVID-19, or who are sick, must not visit.

Residents should also be supported to go out for a walk, visit the supermarket, and/or keep in contact with close family and friends in a safe way.

Under Alert Level 3 people can only move residence when it is an emergency or essential, e.g. when a person is being discharged from hospital.



High and Complex Framework

Services provided under the High and Complex Framework such as Regional Intellectual Disability Secure Services and Regional Intellectual Disability Supported Accommodation Services will continue to operate as essential services.

Hospital level services under the High and Complex Framework will be guided by the wider rules of the hospital care system. For further information on essential services see: www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-current-situation/covid-19-essential-services-health-and-disability-system 

For people living in residential or hospital level services under Intellectual Disability (Compulsory Care and Rehabilitation) Act 2003, the guidance will be the same as for mainstream residential services in relation to Alert Level 3 requirements for managing transmission risk. However, as individuals in High and Complex Framework services, assessment of any risks will also be required in relation to visitors at any time.

For people who are subject to the Intellectual Disability (Compulsory Care & Rehabilitation) Act 2003, leave will be required for visits into the community including visits with family as part of limited social contact. For care recipients, leave will be approved by Care Managers. For Special Care Recipients leave approvals need to go through the Ministry as per usual process.



Other disability services e.g. Disability Information Advisory Services, Child Development Services

Non-essential support will be provided in alternative ways (e.g. virtually, remotely).

Limited visits are allowed under Alert Level 3 if this can be done safely, ensuring physical distancing, good hygiene and infection control practices, and the ability to support contact tracing.

Disability services cannot offer services that involve close personal contact, unless it is an emergency or critical situation.