Media Release: New resources for Queenslanders with disability to assist them during COVID to get the hospital care they need

Know your rights: Getting the hospital care you need during COVID-19 – for people with disability and their supporters

Queenslanders with Disability Network (QDN) and Health Consumers Queensland (HCQ) are pleased to announce the release of a new resource for people with disability to assist them during COVID-19 with getting the hospital care they need.

The resources, “Know your rights: Getting the hospital care you need during COVID-19” is a nation first. QDN and HCQ have worked together with people living with disability and family and carers with lived experience of Queensland’s health system to co-design this resource. This guide is funded by Queensland Department of Health through the COVID-19 Grant Fund: Immediate Support Measures.

Deputy Premier, Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services, Steven Miles, said, “We know that COVID-19 has changed many things for Queenslanders. Accessing healthcare is important for people with disability and as Minister I am committed to ensuring that our health services deliver quality, accessible and equitable services. It is important that people with disability can be in the driver’s seat with the information they need about what has changed due to COVID, what they can do to get prepared and who can help them get the hospital care they need.”

Ms Paige Armstrong, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of QDN said, “In this public health emergency, people with disability need information about getting prepared if they need to go to hospital. We have a changing environment day by day so it is important that people can understand what this means for them. We know for people with disability, it is important that they are able to have a support person with them if they need one.”

Ms Armstrong said, “Healthcare is a partnership. Support people, whether family members, paid staff or volunteers play a vital part in assisting the person and hospital staff. They can ensure patients with disability are communicated with effectively so their healthcare, disability, emotional and behavioural needs are met in a way that maximises people’s rights and safety.”

Ms Melissa Fox, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of HCQ said, “Consumers with disability need to know about their patient rights to care and HCQ is pleased to partner in developing this resource to assist people with disability to get the right care, in the right place, at the right time and in a way that meets their needs. We know this information is important for all health consumers. We look forward to exploring opportunities to build upon this work with key stakeholders in the future.”

The Know your Rights’ resources will help patients with disability who have to go to hospital during this time either with COVID-19 or to get essential healthcare, to be informed and prepared.

“I have found the information in this resource so helpful to me and my supporters in my current situation. As a person with disability who is currently in hospital and someone who was part of the co-design of these resources, the practical tips and information to help me navigate my way made such a difference. I had all my information together to bring with me and it helped my healthcare team understand about me and my needs,” said Ms Sharon Boyce, consumer representative who contributed to the development of these resources.

This resource provides a suite of tools for people with disability and their supporters that gives practical information to help make a plan, get prepared, and know what to expect if they need to go to hospital, and their rights to getting the healthcare that meets their individual needs.

Evidence demonstrates that people with disability are at higher risk in this pandemic, and experience additional barriers that are going to impact upon them throughout this time when accessing hospitals. It is critical that people can get accessible public health information to change behaviour and practices, and keep safe. It is also critical that people can make a plan and share that with others.

We all need to be prepared and know what to do before, during, and after an emergency. People with disability will need additional support, resources, or advocacy during this public health emergency as they access essential healthcare at Queensland hospitals.

About the Toolkit:

Toolkit – The Toolkit comprises a suite of resources – a guide, a shorter summary of key information and a checklist, attached above. This work has been funded through Queensland’s Department of Health, Community Services Funding Branch: COVID-19 Grant Fund: Immediate Support Measures.

These resources are available here.

QDN and HCQ developed the resources to help people with disability be prepared, know their rights and get the support they need when accessing the hospital system during the COVID-19 pandemichelping people get the right care, in the right place, at the right time in a way that meets their needs.

The resource gives people with disability information, practical tools and resources to get prepared with information about their disability needs and how they can share this with their hospital care team, help understand their rights and what they can expect in this changing environment as a patient with disability during COVID-19.

The ‘Know your rights’ toolkit includes:

  • Full guide – ‘Know your rights: Getting the hospital care you need during COVID-19’

This guide includes information about hospital and healthcare during COVID-19, what to do to prepare for accessing hospital care and what to take with you, the rights of people with disability in hospital care during COVID-19, and information around further advocacy, support and other resources.

  • Short summary – ‘My rights and hospital care during COVID-19 for people with disability’ – a shorter summary of the full guide, including a checklist of things people with disability may need to think about and prepare.
  • Postcard size checklists – postcard size checklists to assist people with disability in thinking about and preparing to go to hospital during COVID-19.


Media Contacts

Paige Armstrong QDN                                                          Melissa Fox HCQ

0404 882 716                                                                          0408 720 099


QDN logo: dark blue letters Q D N with the words Queenslanders with Disability Network underneath in grey                         




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *