Restrictive practices during the COVID-19 pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic there is a risk that some persons will not have the capacity to:

  • understand or comply with Guidance and Directions of the Chief Public Health Officer and Directions of the State Coordinator in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic; or
  • otherwise take appropriate steps to protect themselves and the community from exposure to COVID-19.

As a consequence, supported accommodation providers including aged care, mental health and disability service providers may need to restrict the movement of a resident to ensure they are not exposed to COVID-19 or spread the virus in the broader community.

The guidance and directions of the Chief Public Health Officer and directions of the State Coordinator do not authorise service providers to use restrictive practises to enforce compliance with the guidance or directions.

You may recall that the Government introduced a temporary scheme under the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act 2020, to allow accommodation service providers to lawfully and urgently detain persons who are at risk of exposure to COVID-19 and/or non-compliant with public health guidance, for a short period. A further period of detention up to 28 days could be approved on application to the person’s guardian, or, if no guardian was appointed, by an Authorising Officer or the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT).

This temporary scheme ended on 31 May 2021.

From 1 June 2021, if and when detention is required to protect an individual from exposure to COVID-19, it will need to be authorised by the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT) making special powers orders under section 32(1)(b) of the Guardianship and Administration Act 1993.

If you require further information about the procedure for an application to SACAT please visit www.sacat.sa.gov.au.

Service providers should continue to take proper measures to ensure individuals with a cognitive impairment or mental incapacity are well-supported through day to day education and behaviour support plans to adhere to any social distancing measures to ensure both they and the community remain protected.