Direct Care Australia Staff and COVID-19
If a Direct Care Australia staff member is concerned they have COVID-19
- If a member of staff is concerned they have COVID-19 they should call their GP immediately to seek advice or call the National Coronavirus Health Information Line 1800 020 080
- You and any people you have been in close contact with will be asked to self-isolate at home. You may also be asked to be tested or COVID-19.
- Staff must also immediately call DCA Head Office to advise and seek additional direction.
- If advised to self-isolate at home, we may suspend all care for individuals until safe for you to return to work.
If the individual being cared for has symptoms of COVID-19
- If the individual receiving care and support has symptoms of COVID-19, then the risk of transmission should be minimised through safe working procedures.
- Direct Care Australia staff should use personal protective equipment (PPE) for activities that bring them into close personal contact, such as washing and bathing, personal hygiene and contact with bodily fluids.
- Aprons, gloves and fluid repellent surgical masks should be used in these situations. If there is a risk of splashing, then eye protection will minimise risk.
- New personal protective equipment must be used for each episode of care. It is essential that personal protective equipment is stored securely within disposable rubbish bags.
- These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste within the room. This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in the usual household waste bin.
- If Direct Care Australia staff undertake cleaning duties, then they should use usual household products, such as detergents and bleach as these will be very effective at getting rid of the virus on surfaces. Frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned regularly.
- Personal waste (for example, used tissues, continence pads and other items soiled with bodily fluids) and disposable cleaning cloths can be stored securely within disposable rubbish bags.
- These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste within your own room. This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in the usual household waste bin for disposal as normal.
- If Direct Care Australia workers support the individual with laundry, then they should not shake dirty laundry before washing. This minimises the possibility of dispersing virus through the air.
- Wash items as appropriate, in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Dirty laundry that has been in contact with an ill person can be washed with other people’s items. If the individual does not have a washing machine, wait a further 72 hours after the 7-day isolation period has ended; the laundry can then be taken to a public laundromat.
- Items heavily soiled with body fluids, for example, vomit or diarrhoea, or items that cannot be washed, should be disposed of, with the owner’s consent.
Individual being cared for does not have symptoms but is part of a household that is isolating
- If the individual being cared for and their worker can remain at a safe protected distance from the symptomatic member of the household, then care can be provided without additional precaution. This would apply, for example, where the symptomatic family member can remain in their own room, is using separate bathroom facilities and is observing robust isolation procedures, staying 2 metres away from other family members.
- Where this is not possible – and this will vary on a case-by-case basis – the same procedures should be adopted as if the person being cared for did have symptoms of COVID-19 (see above). Care should continue to be taken to limit contact with any household member that has symptoms.
If neither the individual nor the care worker have symptoms of COVID-19
- If neither the Direct Care Australia staff member nor the individual receiving care and support is symptomatic, then no personal protective equipment is required above and beyond normal good hygiene practices.
- General interventions may include increased cleaning activity and keeping property properly ventilated by opening windows whenever safe and appropriate.
- All Direct Care Australia staff should follow advice on hand hygiene.