As part of the overall effort to contain the spread of COVID-19 and in line with public health advice, day service locations closed in March.
Since then, HSE Disability Services have been working to develop national guidance on the part of the disability sector to direct how all day services can be delivered. The Guidance to support the Framework for the Resumption of Adult Disability Day Services was published by the HSE on 9 July 2020.
In developing the guidance document to guide providers, the HSE worked closely with service providers through representative organisations such as the National Federation of Voluntary Service Providers, Disability Federation of Ireland and the Not for Profit Association, in addition to Inclusion Ireland, who represent people with intellectual disabilities and their families.
The guidance document seeks to support the safe return of services in the context of ongoing public health guidance. It also recognises that the impact of public health guidance will result in services being provided at a reduced level and will require changes in how people are supported, increased use of technology where appropriate and more use of outreach supports.
Day services will gradually resume during the month of August. Service providers are already working to get day services ready to reopen safely, and in line with public health guidance. Service providers will be in touch with all families and service users during the month of July to discuss when they may expect the resumption of their service and what that service will consist of.
I want to acknowledge the many challenges experienced by individuals and their families over this difficult time. Families across the country have had their routines upended due to the impact of COVID-19 and I hope that this will be the first step towards returning to some sense of normalcy.
The Guidance to support the Framework for Resumption of Adult Disability Day Services is available on the New Directions website: www.hse.ie/newdirections. The HSE have also issued monthly communications updates for service users and their families, the latest leaflet “Adult Disability Day Services and COVID-19 - What’s Happening? July 2020” is available at the above link.
As the Deputy's question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.