For people with disability and close others

Wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is one important way to help you stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. PPE includes wearable items like face masks and gloves.

Regular handwashing and general cleaning are also very important at this time and are key to keeping safe and well.

The Summer Foundation is working with 2 of Australia’s largest providers of PPE – RSEA Safety and Blackwoods – to make PPE available for people with disability during COVID-19… READ MORE
Click on the banners below to access the stores.

Personal Protective Equipment

If you have a disability and require help in your life that means that people have to come close to you to provide that help, such as help with your personal care, you might need access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). PPE includes items a person with disability or support workers wears to stop COVID-19 from spreading from one person to another. PPE includes masks, gloves, gowns and face shields.

It is vital that NDIS participants and support workers are able to easily get PPE at a reasonable price.

When should disability support workers use PPE?

If you or your support workers use PPE as a regular part of your support arrangements, you should continue to do so.

If you don’t already use PPE, there is no need to wear face masks if you and your support worker are both well.

The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission says:

Outside of usual clinical care requirements, there is no requirement for workers supporting NDIS participants to wear surgical masks or other items of PPE unless they are working with people who have suspected or confirmed COVID-19, and:

  • supports being provided are essential to the participant’s life, health or safety
  • contact between people exceeds Australian Government Department of Health guidelines for social distancing or isolation.

It is recommended that NDIS and disability support providers delivering supports to people in residential settings follow the interim advice from the Australian Government Department of Health on the care of people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

Where a worker is suspected of having been exposed to COVID-19 or is displaying symptoms of COVID-19, they should not be providing direct support to NDIS participants. PPE is not an appropriate solution to workers in this situation.

Useful information about PPE on the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission can be found here: Fact sheet – Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Information for providers on the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

You can also find important safety information about COVID-19 and the use of PPE on the NDIS website: Your health and safety

PPE online stores

The Summer Foundation is working with 2 of Australia’s largest providers of PPE – RSEA Safety and Blackwoods – to make PPE available for people with disability during COVID-19, including people who receive supports which involve significant and close physical contact (in line with the Management and Operational Plan for People with Disability).

RSEA Safety and Blackwoods have both developed PPE online stores specifically for NDIS participants. To access the NDIS participant online PPE stores, users will need to enter their NDIS number to receive:

  • Priority access to PPE stock
  • Reasonably priced PPE
  • A discount on delivery cost

Products available include gloves, gowns, surgical masks, face shields, hand sanitiser and disinfectant wipes.

Payment is by credit card. You will need to pay for your own PPE unless it is a reasonable and necessary support in your NDIS plan. Blackwoods and RSEA may look at other payment options in the future.

Click on the banners below to access the stores.


Current short PPE feedback survey

We are interested in your thoughts on PPE including any feedback you may have about the PPE online stores. Your feedback will assist us to provide feedback to government on the PPE needs of people with disability and also ensure the online stores are user friendly and provide NDIS participants with what they need.

Please complete this short survey – it will take around 5 minutes to complete.

Where else can I get PPE?

National Medical Stockpile: The Australian Government has prioritised PPE distribution from the National Medical Stockpile (NMS) to NDIS providers and self managing participants who are most in need, based on Department of Health criteria.

As of 22 April, only masks were being distributed.

You will need to submit the online application for your request to be considered here.

You can send your inquiries about your eligibility to access the NMS here: NDISCOVIDPPE@health.gov.au

All NDIS PPE requests to access PPE from the NMS are reviewed by the Department of Health.

More PPE information and resources

Department of Health: Surgical mask fact sheet
Department of Health: Management and Operational Plan for People with Disability
The Conversation (article): Should everyone be wearing face masks? It’s complicated
World Health Organisation: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public

What else can I do to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic?

It is important to understand what COVID-19 is and how you can catch it.

The Australian government has set up a Disability Information Line 1800 643 787 and a web page of accessible information about the virus and what you can do to stay safe.

Handwashing is an important way to prevent the spread of infection. Thoroughly washing hands with soap and water is more effective than using hand sanitiser at home. Hand sanitiser is useful when in the community or when someone cannot get to a basin to wash their hands.

It is important that you ask your support workers to regularly wash their hands, especially when they arrive and before they leave.

Here is more information from the Department of Health: Good hygiene for coronavirus (COVID-19)

Cleaning surfaces in the home that are regularly touched is another thing people with disability and workers can do to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection. Use disinfectant to clean surfaces including door knobs, light switches, taps and phones.
Department of Health: Australian Department of Health Guidelines on effective household cleaning
Choice Magazine: Cleaning in the time of coronavirus
Choice Magazine: How to clean your smartphone to protect against COVID-19

Summer Foundation PPE survey results

The Summer Foundation has conducted a survey to better understand the PPE needs of people with disability. More than 350 people told us about their PPE needs, with the most people saying they were concerned about where to find the PPE they needed and the cost of purchasing it.


Easy read information about PPE

The Growing Space:

Management and Operational Plan for People with Disability

For any inquiries please contact us at ppe@summerfoundation.org.au

Summer Foundation key resources

– Developing a safe hospital discharge plan (COVID-19 response)
– Leaving Hospital Well Community of Practice
– UpSkill Community of Practice
Find out more >


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