Hireup acknowledges that these are unprecedented times. This policy is communicated with the intention of setting expectations about how Hireup Support Workers should be managing 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 provided to a person seeking support who
1. Is a confirmed case or
2. is at risk of COVID-19 due to being a direct contact to a confirmed case or
3. has been directed by the Government to self isolate due to travel from a specific area or visiting a hot spot.
Support Workers are unable to provide face to face support if they are
1. a confirmed case of COVID-19 or
2. at risk of COVID-19 due to exposure to a confirmed case or
3. directed by the Government to self isolate, due to travel from a specific area or visiting a hot spot area.
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 supported to keep safe. If you have any concerns, please contact Hireup.
Hireup will continually monitor relevant information sources and update our policies as required. By following the below recommendations, you will be complying with Australian Government, and the World Health Organization's guidelines. Further information can be accessed at https://www.health.gov.au/.
As a support worker providing support to someone at risk, you receive additional support from us.
You will be assigned to a support person who will ensure you have completed essential training, provide ongoing check in’s and phone support to you, and also assist with potential cover for loss of work if there is a hold in other support you provide while providing support to an at risk person.
Hireup also offers a free and confidential Employee Assistance Program which is delivered by Acacia Connection who offer phone and face to face counselling services. You can get in touch with Acacia on 1300 364 273 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Person seeking support
If a person you are supporting is confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 or is at risk of COVID-19 due to exposure to a confirmed case it is important that you let us know. We are here to assist in the management of the support you provide and to support you.
It is also important to ensure the person has received adequate medical support. If you are concerned, please get in touch with Hireup, or with the person's consent (of their Account Manager), contact the Department of Health's Coronavirus Health Information Line 24hrs a day, 7 days a week on 1800 020 080. State based contact details Local state and territory health departments.
As a Hireup employee providing direct support to someone who has contracted COVID-19 or is at risk of COVID-19 due to exposure to a confirmed case or returning from overseas travel or travel to a hotspot, it is important to ensure you are taking steps to reduce your risk of exposure.
- Complete infection control training - You are required to complete the Department of Health’s COVID-19 Infection Control online training prior to supporting the individual COVID-19 infection control training
- Ensure you and the person you support practice safe hand washing.
- Ensure you and the person you support have access to appropriate personal protective equipment for you both including a respirator (Support Worker) and eye protection.
- Practice infection control processes throughout the shift.
- Practice good respiratory hygiene.
- Clean all high touch areas (door knobs, benches, tables, handles etc) with cleaning products and disinfectant.
- Continually self screen for symptoms and self-isolate if you become symptomatic.
If you believe you have been accidentally exposed to body fluids of an infected person, immediately wash the area with soap and water and contact Hireup to report it.
Someone within the household
It is important to ensure the person who has contracted COVID-19 is isolated, in a separate room. It is important to communicate with the person and work with them around minimising your contact with them.
In this situation, you would still be required to:
- Maintain safe handwashing practices including before and after wearing gloves.
- Wear gloves around any areas the infected person has been, when touching things in the environment (eg. bench, chair, door handles). Dispose of gloves after use using appropriate techniques.
- Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth while in the environment.
- Wear eye protection.
- Clean all high touch areas (door knobs, benches, tables, handles etc) with cleaning products and disinfectant if available and appropriate.
If the person was unable to isolate themselves in a separate room, you would need to apply the same process as you would if the person you were supporting had contracted COVID-19.
Safe hand washing
The World Health Organisation guidelines for hand washing 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 opposite palm of 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 hand washing 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. Apply the same movement techniques as described above with safe hand washing.
Personal Protective Equipment - PPE
PPE is one way to create a barrier between yourself and the virus. The table below outlines what PPE would be appropriate in different situations. PPE includes things like gloves, goggles, face shields, face masks, and aprons. The person who has COVID-19 is required to wear a face mask for the duration of your support shift.
Contact refers to the physical contact between yourself and the person you support, as well as their immediate environment.
Droplet refers to the moment the coronavirus is airborne for a few moments after the infected person coughs or sneezes. It is only able to travel a short distance before dropping onto surrounding surfaces.
Please note. Apply the 1.5 metre rule where possible throughout the shift.
Non sterile disposable gloves
Yes, changing between tasks
Yes, changing between tasks
Disposable one use gown - not an apron. Full length and long sleeves
NA - N95 mask
P2/N95 Respirator mask
When support worker is in close contact (less than 1 metre) or the person is unable to wear a mask or there is probability that there will be exposure to oral secretions (eg uncontrolled spitting)
Developed in conjunction with Department of Health, Australia 2020
Using Disposable Gloves
Follow these steps when using disposable gloves:
- Wash hands before and after using gloves.
- Gloves should be changed between tasks when supporting the same person for example after supporting someone to shave you should change gloves before you assist the same person to brush their teeth.
- Gloves are single use only.
- Gloves should be removed by pulling down from the wrist effectively turning it inside out as it travels from the wrist to the fingers.
Using Disposable Aprons
Aprons should be worn to prevent clothes from being soiled when you are performing an activity where there is a risk of splashing body fluids. Follow these steps when using disposable aprons:
- Aprons should be worn for the duration of your support shift.
- When using an apron ensure that you are ‘bare below the elbow’. Sleeves should be rolled up or clothing with sleeves should be removed before putting on the apron. If you are unable to cover your sleeve, ensure you remove and wash clothing as soon as you arrive home after your shift.
- Remove the apron immediately after use rolling it up with the potentially soiled side on the inside. If it is soiled, place in a plastic bag before disposing.
- Wash your hands immediately after disposing of the apron.
Masks shield the mouth and nose should be used when someone has been diagnosed with or is suspected of having COVID-19 or another infection with droplet or airborne transmission e.g. influenza. Both yourself and the person you support need to wear a mask.
Masks provide protection against spray and droplets of saliva.
Masks need to be single use and are only effective when fitted correctly and used in conjunction with safe hand washing techniques.
- Masks should sit under your chin and cover your nose.
- Please follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully for using the mask.
- Avoid touching the mask whilst using it.
- It is important to remove the mask by holding the ties only and dispose of it immediately.
- Wash your hands after disposal.
Using Respirator masks P2 (N95)
Respirator masks shield the mouth and nose the same way general/surgical masks do. The difference is that they provide additional protection when there is a greater risk of droplet exposure (see table).
- Respirators provide an additional level of protection than masks.
- Please follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully for using the respirator.
- Respirators are single use.
- Respirators should cover your mouth and nose making sure there are no gaps between your face and the respirator.
- Avoid touching the respirator whilst using it.
- It is important to remove the respirator by holding the ties only and dispose of it immediately.
- Wash your hands after disposal.
Using Eye Protection
This equipment shields the eyes and there are two main times when they should be used:
- Eye protection should be considered single use only.
- Please follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully for using the eye protection.
- Remove the eye protection using the earpieces only.
- Dispose of the eye protection immediately after use.
- Wash hands immediately after disposing of eye protection.
Additional information regarding preventing and managing exposure to infectious diseases can be found at Infection Management Guide.
What if PPE isn’t available?
Unfortunately you will not be able to provide support to a person who has contracted COVID-19 or is at risk of COVID-19 due to exposure to a confirmed case or returning from overseas travel. If PPE is not available, contact Hireup and we’ll work with you to connect the person with appropriate support and to assist you with finding additional clients.
The person you are supporting may have supplies provided by their treating medical practitioner. If not, Hireup is offering reimbursements for essential PPE for Support Workers. Contact Hireup for support with this.
If the person you support has a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 and has had a deterioration in health, please contact the National Coronavirus hotline on 1800 020 080 (24 hours, 7 days a week) for advice, or call 000 and ask for an ambulance if symptoms are serious or the person is requesting.
Serious symptoms include;
- High fever
- Difficulty with or rapid breathing
- Frequent productive coughing that cannot be managed
If the person you are supporting needs to go to hospital, please ensure you accompany them. It is important that you continue the support until an appropriate handover is provided to the hospital team. Please contact Hireup if you have any questions or require support through this process.
Ensure the person has been admitted and under the care of Health Care professionals before completing your shift. You are responsible for ensuring an appropriate handover is provided to hospital staff, including symptoms and support needs.
Hireup is able to provide support to ensure the time you are with that person is covered, and you are supported in getting home if needed. It is also important to complete an Incident Report on the platform to report the hospitalisation of the person.