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People with disability

People with disability are an important part of our diverse Metro South community. We are committed to improving our health services for people with disability and helping people to achieve the best health possible.

We have developed our MSH Disability Service Plan 2023-26: Ask, Connect, Listen, Respect. Our plan was developed with advice from people with disability, carers, our MSH Disability Community Advisory Committee and disability peak bodies. Learn about our plan here:

We recognise that:

  • disability can affect all of us at different times of our lives
  • disability can be present at birth or develop throughout our lives
  • the needs of each person with disability are unique
  • disability is not always visible
  • people with disability come from diverse backgrounds  cultures, religions, languages, gender identities, income levels, educational opportunities, relationships and sexualities.

Information about disability

What is disability?

Disability is an interaction between:

  • permanent or long-term impairment (i.e. vision loss, dementia, amputation)
  • activity limitation (i.e. difficulty communicating, with self-care, making decisions)
  • participation restriction (i.e. inclusion in work, community and family life).

Participation is also affected by factors in our social and physical environments such as attitudes, processes, equipment and building inclusion for people with disability.

How many people have disability?

Nearly 1 in 5 (18%) Queenslanders live with disability and rates are 1.8 times higher for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. In the Metro South region:

  • more than 180,000 residents have disability
  • 1 in 20 residents (4.8%) experience severe or profound disability and need support for everyday activities.

Types of disability

Sensory disability
Affects senses such as vision or hearing.
Examples: Deaf or hard of hearing; blind or vision-impaired.

Physical disability
Affects strength, dexterity, movement or physical function.
Examples: Person uses a wheelchair; rheumatoid arthritis.

Intellectual or cognitive disability
Affects thinking, memory, or ability to make decisions.
Examples: Down Syndrome; dementia; Autism.

Psychosocial disability
Persistent mental health issues which affect function.
Examples: Schizophrenia; Bipolar Disorder.

Neurological disability
Conditions which affect the brain, spine or nerves.
Examples: Stroke; brain or spinal injury; Multiple Sclerosis.

Medical/Diverse disability
Medical conditions can have diverse impacts on function.
Examples: Chronic fatigue; chronic pain.

Multiple disability
People may experience multiple disabilities.

Information for people with disability and families

Coming to hospital

Please tell us if you or your family member have any disability needs – this helps us provide better care. This could include:

  • having a carer or support person with you
  • if you need an interpreter
  • if you need disability equipment (such as hoists)
  • if a phone or telehealth appointment is possible
  • asking if your carer can stay overnight
  • if you can bring your own food
  • if you have severe difficulty waiting (fear/distress/discomfort)
  • if you need help for meals, showering or self-care.

Please share any care documents which tell us about your care needs – this could include your copy of the Julian's Key Health Passport or a Positive Behaviour Support Plan.

It can also be really useful to tell us if you are an NDIS participant. Feel free to remind our staff to update your medical records. This helps us to coordinate your discharge with NDIS services.

We welcome your feedback

We welcome feedback about our services from people with disability, carers and support workers. Your feedback helps us improve our care. Find out how to provide feedback.

Free advocacy services help people with disability to make decisions and resolve issues with services – including health services.

Disability Royal Commission

The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability runs until 2023.

Information for staff working with people with disability

Staff factsheets

These fact sheets assist Metro South Health staff to work with people with disability, and highlight possible reasonable adjustments that might be required.

Our specialist services for people with disability

Addiction and Mental Health Services

Metro South Health is a leading provider of inpatient, hospital-based and community mental health services. We also provide community alcohol and drug services. As well as working with people with mental health issues and psychosocial disability we have key projects in the areas of:

Rehabilitation services

Metro South Health is a leading Queensland provider of specialist rehabilitation services. The Division of Rehabilitation (DoR) focusses on services for people with acquired brain injury (ABI), amputation, persistent pain, spinal cord injury (SCI) and other disability:

Health Equity and Access Unit

The Health Equity and Access Unit helps to improve Metro South Health services for people with disability. Our team works to:

  • build inclusive policy
  • provide information and skills development to people with disability
  • deliver health improvement projects
  • partner with Metro South services to improve care for people with disability.

Our disability initiatives

Nurse Navigator Services

Nurse Navigators help people with complex care needs to get the health services they need and to improve their care. At Metro South we have dedicated Disability Nurse Navigators to assist people with disability. We also have other Nurse Navigators who work in specialist medical areas. If you need extra help coordinating and navigating health services – ask your GP or your Metro South Health team about Nurse Navigators.

Julian's Key Health Passport

Julian's Key helps people with disability and carers to document their care and support needs. People can then choose to give this to their health workers so they can provide better care. Julian's Key is available as a smart phone or tablet app in the Apple and Google App stores or a PDF can be downloaded here.

Healthy eating in supported accommodation toolkit

The Healthy eating in supported accommodation toolkit (PDF, 6.13 MB) contains practical information about providing nutritious food for supported accommodation residents, adjusting meals for residents with special needs, and how the surroundings of facilities can help residents to make healthier choices. This toolkit can also be used by clinicians working with people living with a mental illness and/or intellectual disability.

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

Metro South Health works closely with the NDIS to make sure that our consumers can go home safely and get the community supports they need. The NDIS enables people with disability to access the supports, equipment and home/vehicle modifications they need. Learn more about the NDIS on their website and Metro South Health's NDIS work here.

Disability training and awareness

The Health Equity and Access Unit provides training to Metro South Health staff and volunteers. All Metro South Health staff now receive disability content as part of their orientation training when they start work with us.

Last updated 10 July 2023
Last reviewed 26 February 2021