As a result of Covid-19, PHM Health is responding by keeping our community safe and supported.
Please continue to be vigilant and use masks, practice social distancing, wash your hands and check NSW Health for the latest information.
Covid-19 – important information
Have you contracted or been exposed to Covid-19?
What to do?
If you have recently travelled or think you may have been in contact with the coronavirus, it is important that you contact us on 1300 941 450 or email email@example.com.
Need advice or to get tested?
If you need advice or have questions, call the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450.
What is essential vs non-essential support?
Essential support includes the activities outlined by the government as being acceptable. This includes going shopping for essential needs (food, medication etc.), going to medical appointments, and exercising outside in groups of no more than two.
Non-essential supports are those that you can live without but help you live a good life. In normal times these activities might be in your home or community such as; playing board games, movies, eating out, social outings, outdoor activities and cooking together.
Providing support while adhering to Government hygiene and PPE standards
PHM Health acknowledges that these are unprecedented times. This policy is communicated with the intention of setting expectations about how PHM Health Support Workers should be working to reduce the risk of contracting and spreading coronavirus (COVID-19). We all have a duty of care to ourselves and the people we support to take reasonable care of our own health and safety and to not adversely affect the health and safety of others.
This policy applies to support that generally applies to Support Worker and People Seeking Support who are considered to be at low or no risk of COVID-19 as per the following:
Support Worker and Person Seeking Support have not travelled internationally; Support Worker and Person Seeking Support have not had any close contact with someone who has a confirmed case of coronavirus; and Support Worker and Person Seeking Support do not have any symptoms of being unwell e.g. coughing, fevers, difficulty breathing, etc.
The safety of our community is very important to us. We want to ensure that people with disability receive the support they need from support workers who are operating safely. If you have any concerns, please contact us asap.
PHM Health will continually monitor relevant information sources and update our policies as required. By following the below recommendations, you will be complying with the Australian Government and the World Health Organization’s guidelines. Further information can be accessed at https://www.health.gov.au/.
If you have been exposed to someone who has returned a positive result for COVID-19 testing or is at risk of COVID-19 due to exposure to a confirmed case or returning from overseas travel, please contact PHM Health immediately for further instruction and support.
There is no work restriction on Support Workers who are casual contacts of COVID-19 cases and are well, including those who have provided direct care for confirmed cases while using adequate personal protective equipment (PPE). In this instance, health care workers should self-monitor for symptoms and self-isolate if they become unwell until COVID-19 is excluded.*
*Based on the Department of Health information document Information on work attendance and testing for health and residential aged care workers
Protection Measures for Everyone
You can reduce your chances of contracting or spreading COVID-19 by following some simple precautions:
Regularly and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water including before and after eating and after going to the toilet. See below for more information on safe hand washing.
- Carry an alcoholic-based hand sanitizer when you are out of the home and clean your hands regularly
- Clean and disinfect surfaces regularly including frequently used objects such as mobile phones, keys, and wallets
- Maintain at least 1.5 metres (3-feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing
- Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
- Increase the amount of fresh air by opening windows
- Wash your clothes at the end of every shift/day
- Moisturise hands to prevent dry skin
- Cover any breaks in your skin e.g. using a bandaid
- Keep your fingernails short and avoid using artificial nails
- Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, stay more than 1.5 metres away from others and seek medical attention, calling in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority
- Practice social distancing by avoiding handshaking and other physical greetings, consider what travel and outings are necessary and go to open places such as parks.
Utilising PPE in a safe and responsible way
PPE is one way to create a barrier between yourself and the virus. You can reduce your chances of contracting or spreading COVID-19 by utilising relevant PPE according to the situation you’re managing:
- Only wear a mask if you are ill with COVID-19 symptoms or are supporting someone who might have COVID-19. Disposable face masks can only be used once and should be disposed of after use
- You can still pick up COVID-19 contamination when wearing rubber gloves and infect yourself by touching your face. Good hand hygiene provides greater general protection against COVID-19 than rubber gloves. If you are working with someone who has a confirmed case or is at risk of having exposure to COVID-19, please refer to Providing Support where there is a confirmed case
Safe hand washing
The World Health Organisation guidelines for handwashing recommend singing ‘happy birthday’ twice. While singing, the following steps should be followed:
- Wet hands with water and apply enough soap to cover all hand surfaces
- Rub hands palm to palm, then right interlace fingers and rub
- Palm to back of hand interlacing – both sides
- Rotating hand around thumb – both sides
- Cup hand and rotate fingers of the opposite palm of the hand – both sides
- Rinse hands with water, palms facing down
- Dry thoroughly with a single-use towel.
- Turn the tap off with the towel and dispose.
When providing support, adopt the 5 moments handwashing principle.
- Before touching the person you are supporting – this is done upon entering the work zone
- Before providing direct contact support
- After providing direct contact support
- After touching the person you are supporting
- After touching the persons surrounds
If you are unable to wash your hands before entering the home. Ensure you have hand sanitizer made up of at least 60% alcohol.
Changes to non-essential supports
We are still providing care despite the challenges
Now and into the future, all essential support can continue to be provided with both face to face and remote ways. Participants and support workers should always follow safety standards when working face to face. When support workers are travelling to and from shifts, they are to carry there ‘PHM Health Freedom of Movement’ letter to prove their employment and recent shift.
‘Essential’ supports are critical services you cannot live without. Some examples are personal care, medication, mental health and therapy supports, some critical household activities.
Essential supports also include the activities outlined by the government as being acceptable. This includes going shopping for essential needs(food, medication etc), going to medical appointments, going outside for exercise in groups of no more than two.
In short, PHM Health is fully committed to the health and safety of all staff, participants and community. We will work with you, your support coordinator and your support network to ensure that what can be done, will be done in relation to supporting you as best as we can given the current requirements due to COVID-19. We are again committed to finding solutions to providing care!
My usual support falls under non-essential, how can PHM Health help?
The good news? PHM Health has now introduced PHOOM. PHOOM is our answer to having a support worker doing engaging activities via online means. We have a number of participants who are currently getting the PHOOM experience.
Cooking and conversation
Already a massive favourite. Here we work with participants to deliver items to your door and then along with your worker make some easy meals. An example is Cake in a Cup. All you need is 1 coffee cup, some milk, spoon, fork microwave and pre-made cake mix and wham you’ve got Cake in a Cup.
Get up, get busy, get active
Workers take you through a workout to your level that fun and on the road to keep fit and well. Yoga has been a major hit.
“Popcorn, ice-cream and drinks” equals movie watch parties
That’s right, your PHM Worker will go and get all the bits to make that movie watch party that bit more awesome. Another hit we’ve been doing. This means your worker and yourself choose a new or a classic film and watch it together while both eat, chat and generally hangout.
The drums, the sounds and the band?
With our support workers and participants, they’re listening to and playing music. We have methods of getting you together and either chilling or rocking out.
Putting the A back in art
Through our online system, our support worker and participants are able to create awesome masterpieces.
Asides from PHOOM, if you can’t go out but you need things from the shop, then our workers can do indirect support for you.
PHM Health is very flexible and can adapt to helping you to feel engaged.
Infection Management Guide
PHM Health staff and Support Workers may be exposed to infectious diseases as part of their work. This guide sets out some strategies for preventing and managing exposure to infectious diseases.
What is an infectious disease?
An Infectious Disease can be defined as a disease “that can be transmitted from person to person or from organism to organism, and is caused by eg. viruses and bacteria.” They may cause a short-term illness such as a cold or a longer-term condition such as hepatitis.
Infectious diseases can be airborne, such as meningitis or tuberculosis, blood borne such as HIV or hepatitis and faecal-oral borne such as gastroenteritis.
In all cases, it is recommended to use suitable work procedures and actions to reduce the risk of transmission.
PHM Health is committed to reducing the exposure to infectious diseases for all of our users. We encourage the use of the following strategies to ensure that prevention is managed where possible:
Health monitoring and management:
- Monitoring your health to ensure that you are aware of any infectious diseases you may have. Stay at home if you feel unwell
- Seeking advice from a qualified medical professional on the best strategies for minimising exposure for others to any infectious disease
- Informing support workers of any infectious diseases and training them in strategies to minimise exposure. This may include:
- Cancelling the shift if it is not urgent/critical or finding a more suitable person to cover the work
- Providing protective equipment like gloves and masks
- Disposing of contaminated waste appropriately
- Refer to Providing support whilst adhering to Government hygiene and PPE standards for more information on hygiene standards
Dealing with bodily fluids
- Water impermeable gloves should be worn before having contact with blood and bodily fluids/substances:
- Aqueous-based hand creams should be used before wearing gloves. Oil-based preparations should be avoided as these may cause latex gloves to deteriorate
- Gloves should be removed and replaced once the specific task is finished
- Hands should be washed, following safe handwashing procedures, and dried before and after coming into contact with blood and bodily fluids:
- A mild liquid hand wash (with no added substances, which may cause irritation or dryness) should be used for routine hand washing
- To minimize chapping of hands, use warm water and pat hands dry rather than rubbing them
- Liquid hand wash dispensers with disposable cartridges, including disposable dispensing nozzle, are preferred over refillable containers, which may be predisposed to bacterial colonization
- Waterproof aprons should be worn to protect clothing from being contaminated with blood or other body fluids/substances
- Surgical masks and/or protective eyewear should be worn where eyes and/or mucous membranes may be exposed to splashed or sprayed blood or other body fluids/substances
- Cuts or abrasions on any part of a worker’s body must be covered with waterproof dressings at all times
- Refer to Providing support where there is a confirmed or at-risk case of COVID-19 for more information on PPE use
It is important that regular cleaning is conducted in the space where the disability support is provided (e.g in the home).
Surfaces should be cleaned on a regular basis using only cleaning procedures that minimise dispersal of microorganisms into the air:
- clean and dry work surfaces before and after use or when visibly soiled
- spills should be wiped up immediately;
- use detergent and warm water for routine cleaning;
- where surface disinfection is required, use in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions;
- clean and dry surfaces before and after applying disinfectants;
- empty buckets after use, wash with detergent and warm water and store dry; and
- mops should be cleaned in detergent and warm water then stored dry.
Space, where the disability support is being provided, should come with a set of standard cleaning materials including a large reusable plastic container or bucket with fitted lid, containing:
- large zip-seal plastic bags for waste material;
- sturdy cardboard scraper and pan (similar to a ‘pooper scooper’);
- sodium hypochlorite (bleach) or other equivalent acting disinfectant
- disposable rubber gloves suitable for cleaning;
- eye protection (disposable or reusable);
- a plastic apron; and
- a mask (for protection against inhalation of powder from the disinfectant granules, or aerosols from high risk spills, which may be generated during the cleaning process).
Response to exposure
Response strategies to use if all minimisation strategies have been followed and someone has still been exposed:
- DRSABCD and First Aid Practices
- Skin – wash with soap and water
- Eyes – rinse with thoroughly with water
- Mouth – spit out and repeatedly rinse with water
- Seeking Medical Treatment from a qualified professional
- Notifying (where appropriate) friends, family, colleagues of the exposure to minimise risk to them, eg. Cold and Flu exposure.
All exposure incidents should be reported to PHM Health using the online Incident Report.
Wear latex/rubber gloves and enclosed footwear and wipe the area immediately with paper towelling. Then clean the area with water and detergent or a suitable disinfectant such as sodium hypochlorite (bleach).
Small spots or drops of blood or body fluids can be removed immediately by wiping the area with a damp cloth, tissue or paper towelling. A disposable alcohol wipe can also be used.
Large spills in a ‘wet’ area eg. a bathroom or toilet area
Wear latex/rubber gloves and enclosed footwear. The spill should be carefully washed down and the area flushed with water and detergent.
After the area is cleaned and if there is a possibility of bare skin contact with the surface, the area should be disinfected with sodium hypochlorite (bleach) or another equivalent acting disinfectant.
Large spills in ‘dry’ areas
Wear latex/rubber gloves and enclosed footwear. The area should be cleaned and disinfected and the area of the spill contained.
A scraper and pan should be used to remove any absorbed material. The area of the spill should then be cleaned with a mop and bucket of water with sodium hypochlorite (bleach) or another equivalent acting disinfectant. The bucket and mop should be thoroughly cleaned after use and stored dry.
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