For any teams required to don and doff PPE to provide care, the following video will be a great refresher on the required technique.

Donning and Doffing from Mercy Services on Vimeo.

Staff Update 28 January 2022


To provide everyone with an update from my last email of 12 January 2022, I have pulled together some updated Q&A’s to assist in keeping up-to-date with relevant COVID-19 information related to us as workers within Aged Care, Community and Transport.

What PPE is required when working?

For Residential Aged Care Facility workers, for every shift it is mandatory:

  • To wear a P2/N95 mask
  • To wear eye protection or a face shield
  • To wear other appropriate PPE as clinically required
  • Undertake a RAT before commencement of each shift

In some circumstances gowns will also be required and for workers who have recently tested positive for COVID-19 and have recovered, undertaking a RAT before commencement of each shift will not be required for a short period of time after returning to work. This is because it is possible for a RAT to remain showing positive for a period after the person has recovered from the virus and is no longer infectious.

For Home Care Aged Care, Transport and AOD workers, surgical masks and eye coverings (safety glasses or shields) will remain mandatory. Staff may also be required to wear other appropriate PPE as clinically required, and dependant on the level of care to be provided

What is the current information from the Government?

No real changes have been released by Government since my last email on 12 January 2022. The applicable websites to visit remain:

From today, however, Residential Aged Care Providers, together with Providers of In-home services (HCP and CHSP) and Community, must report on staff who have had their third COVID-19 booster. This reporting must be done each week moving forward, commencing today.

It is now mandatory for aged care workers to receive a booster dose for COVID-19 in WA, SA and Victoria. NSW has announced its intent to do the same so we know the booster in NSW will be mandated very soon. All workers are therefore strongly encouraged to receive a booster dose when they are eligible to protect themselves, their families and the people who they provide care for while working.


What are the testing and isolation requirements for Aged Care Workers (including Residential, Home and Community Care, Transport and AOD)?

 

If a worker:

  • Tests positive for COVID-19 via a RAT and/or PCR; and/or
  • Is identified as a ‘household or close contact’ of a confirmed positive COVID-19 case

Then they:

  • Need to isolate at home for a period of 7-days;
  • Between day-7 and day-10 the worker may come out of isolation if they no longer have any symptoms, but cannot attend any ‘high-risk settings’. Working in Mercy Services is considered a ‘high-risk setting’; and
  • Between day-11 and day-14 may only attend work following a detailed risk assessment, combined with comprehensive risk mitigation strategies for example, the worker may be required to work in additional PPE during this time period.

When do I need to have a PCR Test?

This advice remains consistent with what was advised in my COVID-19 Update of 12 January 2022:

Workers are only required to obtain a PCR test if:

  • They have symptoms of COVID-19 and/or
  • They have tested positive in a RAT

If you do not fit into one of these categories then you do not need to have a PCR test.

What if someone close to me tests positive for COVID-19? What do I need to do?

It is best to contact your Supervisor, Manager or Head of Team straight away so that you can discuss your specific situation with them. The definition of who is a ‘household or close-contact’ has changed and even the term ‘close-contact’ itself has changed. What is of critical importance is to identify the nature of your contact with the COVID-19 positive person. Does the person live in the same house as you? Did they visit your home? Did you stay inside with them or were you outside? How long were you with them and in what setting? Were masks worn while you were with the COVID-19 positive person? These are all questions that need to be asked and when known, a risk assessment can be conducted. Once the situation is risk assessed, we will be able to determine if you need to isolate and/or if you need to undertake a RAT.

Do I need to have a COVID-19 booster vaccination?

It is now mandatory for aged care workers to receive a booster dose for COVID-19 in WA, SA and Victoria. NSW has announced its intent to do the same so we know the booster in NSW will be mandated very soon.

All workers are therefore strongly encouraged to receive a booster dose when they are eligible to protect themselves, their families and the people who they provide care for while working.

Once you have had your COVID-19 Booster Vaccination please inform Mercy of this and provide a copy of your immunisation record/Digital COVID-19 Certificate. This evidence is to be forwarded to [email protected]

What if I have attended a busy venue or function in my private time and it might have exposed me to COVID-19? What do I do before I return to work?

We understand that we all have to live our life as we continue to move through this pandemic and this will mean attending venues and/or functions in our private time where the risk of contracting COVID-19 will be higher. Where this occurs please speak to your Supervisor, Manager or Head of Team so that we can risk assess the situation with you and perhaps put some additional measures or actions in place to try and minimise any risk that may be present. This might mean we put in place additional PPE requirements for example, or we conduct a RAT with you before you attend work next to protect our clients, residents and fellow colleagues as best that we can. As we continue to live with COVID-19, sharing information like this and taking added preventative measures is critical in protecting one another moving forward.

What if I contract COVID-19? Is there still financial assistance available through the Government?

 

Yes. You will find all the information that you need, together with links to make online applications for financial assistance, through the Service NSW website. The most useful link to use is https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/financial-support-individuals-and-households

 

Where do I go if I have any questions?

If you have any questions please go to your immediate Supervisor, Manager or Head of Team. Your Supervisor, Manager or Head of Team will then be able to seek the appropriate answer out for you and help you through whatever situation is being faced. The weeks and months ahead are likely to remain challenging and working together as a team will continue to be important.

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Lastly and once again, thank you for all that you do each day to care for the people Mercy Services supports.


Remember to ensure you change your surgical mask every 4 hours at the most, or sooner if it becomes contaminated or wet.

Resume* (.PDF only Drop file here or click to upload.)

For a list of exposure sites in our region, please click here.

For the COVID-19 (Delta) FAQs please click here.

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