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Windsor Health’s COVID Safe Plan

We are committed to ensuring the safety of our customers, employees and community. Here you will find important information and support resources as we stand together in response to Coronavirus (COVID-19).

PURPOSE AND SCOPE

The purpose of this planvis to guide practices and procedure for minimisation, mitigation and elimination of the risks associated with the COVID-19 virus and its transmission – both for internal stakeholders and the public.

RESPONSIBILITIES

 

The Director’s has overall responsibility for this policy and procedure. All internal stakeholders, including managers, service coordination teams, support workers, clients and their families have a responsibility to ensure that the procedures and the organisations COVID Safe Plan are adhered to during this time.

CONTEXT

STATE GOVERNMENT LEGISLATION

Under Stage 4 (Stay at Home) restrictions, the Victorian Government requires (from 11:59pm Friday 7th August 2020) that all permitted businesses still operating during this time (including essential services) to enact their COVID Safe Plan and communicate it to their workforce.

Under the Stage 4 Restrictions, workplaces that remain open must:

  • Have a COVID Safe Plan in place that is regularly updated.
  • Ensure any workers that can work from home are able to do so.
  • Collect records of all workers attending a workplace for 15 minutes or longer.
  • One worker per four square metres of enclosed workspace or in shared areas.
  • Minimise work across multiple sites, or for multiple employers. Mitigate risk where this is not possible.
  • Ensure that workers are in good health – workers cannot work if they are unwell and employers must not require them to work.
  • If an employee is unwell, direct the employee to go home and be tested. They must stay at home until they have their result.
  • Report any positive cases of COVID-19 to DHHS, Worksafe, Health and Safety Representatives, and the NDIS Commission.
  • Ensure workspaces (if applicable) are regularly cleaned and undertake risk assessments for cleaning and the potential closure of the workplace in certain situations.

POLICY STATEMENT

 The safety of our clients and employees are our top priority as we face the COVID-19 pandemic.

Windsor health Support Workers have been communicated to and briefed regularly through phone and on our website. This will continue throughout this period.

Where a suspected or confirmed case of the virus is reported, a response plan was quickly established and enacted. This plan is regularly reviewed by the management team.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

The advice on the wearing of face masks is continually changing. Windsor Health management is aware that the advice from DHHS has been for Support Workers to use surgical masks while providing services and the same has been communicated to Support Workers.

A Note about Disabilities and the Use of PPE

GENERAL

Clients are advised that they should wear a face mask during the delivery of services except where they are:

  • An infant and child under the age of 12 years.
  • A person who is affected by a relevant medical condition– including problems with their breathing, a serious skin condition on the face, a disability, or a mental health condition.
  • communicating with a person who is hearing impaired,where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication.
  • Persons whose professions need clear enunciation or visibility of their mouth. This includes teaching or live broadcasting.
  • Professional sportspeople when training or competing.
  • An individual who is doing any exercise or physical activity where they are out of breath or puffing; examples include jogging or running but not walking. You must have a face covering on you and wear it when you finish exercising.
  • directed by police to remove the face covering to check identity.
  • travelling in a vehicle by themselves or with other members of their household.
  • consuming food, drink, medication or when smoking/vaping.
  • undergoing dental treatment or other medical care to the extent that the procedure requires that no face covering may be worn.
  • entering or inside a financial institution, like a bank.
  • Experiencing an emergency.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and PPE

Many people with ASD are highly sensitive to touch, and the face can be especially so. Wearing a face mask involves many unpleasant sensations. On the surface, there is the scratchy texture of fabric, tight contact where the top of the mask meets the skin, and the tug of elastic on the ears. Sensations under the mask are no more pleasant and include the warm, damp smell of recycled air. In addition, the sensation of breathing in and exhaling air through the nose can feel restrictive, leading to concern and worry for many individuals with ASD. While wearing a mask is uncomfortable at best, these unpleasant sensory experiences can be intensely magnified in people with ASD.

  • Demonstrate using the face mask on a preferred object or person, such as a stuffed animal, a doll, or a family member.
  • Allow the person with ASD to choose among different types of fabric face masks to find one that is most comfortable.
  • Start by practicing wearing the face mask for short durations of time, allowing for breaks when needed.
  • Introduce a mask in a quiet and calm environment, so that the individual can experience success wearing the face mask.
  • Use a printed photo or digital photo of the individual wearing a face mask as a visual cue to wear the mask before outings. The photo can be stored close to the door or on a tablet that is easily accessible.

Client COVID SAFE Plans

 

Clients of Windsor Health are highly recommended to have in place a plan of their own.

 

Clients are advised to visit the Australian Government Department of Health’s website for the most up-to-date advice for people with disability during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are a range of accessible resources available for people with disability, including their families, carers and support workers available here: https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/advice-for-people-at-risk-of-coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-people-with-disability

Windsor Health COVID Safe Plan

All staff have an obligation and responsibility to:

  1. read and understand this plan; and
  2. keep accurate records of any relevant information relating to this plan; and
  3. ensure their staff records are up to date with accurate information about how to contact them in the case Windsor Health needs to advise about the transmission of COVID-19.
  4. understand that any breach of this plan may lead to disciplinary action or dismissal.
  5. enact this plan until advised otherwise.

 Our ongoing COVID Safe Plan is as follows:

HYGEINE

Hand Sanitiser

OFFICE STAFF:

Approval must be sought from the Director before attending the office for any reason.

The office has one (1) hand sanitizer stations set up.

SUPPORT STAFF:

Some clients have hand sanitizer and supplies on hand.

Where possible, soap and water are recommended to be used as a primary source of Hand Hygiene, in line with World Health Organisation (WHO) Guidelines.

Where staff do not have access to hand sanitiser, we will attempt to source and provide. It may take some time for supplies to be delivered – staff should continue to use soap and water until a source can be confirmed to be delivered.  While waiting, if staff have the capacity to source their own sanitiser, it is much appreciated. They can claim this expense on their tax return.

Air Flow

SUPPORT STAFF

Where working in proximity, we recommend that windows are left slightly ajar to promote air flow.

Face Coverings/Surgical Masks

OFFICE STAFF

Approval must be sought from the Director before attending the office for any reason.

Any staff member attending the office must wear a face mask to and from the office, and always while in attendance, even if no other staff are present.

SUPPORT STAFF

Staff must always wear face coverings during their shift in accordance with restrictions –except where:

  1. The worker has a physical or mental health condition or disability which makes wearing the face covering unsuitable
  2. The visibility of the workers mouth is essential for communicating with the client; or
  3. The nature of the work means that wearing a face covering creates a risk to their health and safety; or
  4. the worker is asked to remove the face covering to ascertain identity; or
  5. for emergency purposes.
  6. Surgical masks must be discarded in line with infection control procedures and changed every 4 hours or whenever they are soiled or get wet.
  7. Cloth masks are to be washed at the end of each day.

Training

ALL STAFF

All staff must complete infection control training for COVID-19 specific issues (either Health Department provided course, or course provided by DSC).

Cleaning

OFFICE STAFF

Approval must be sought from the Director before attending the office for any reason.

Any staff member attending must ensure surfaces are thoroughly cleaned after they have been used.

SUPPORT STAFF

Shared spaces must be cleaned at regular intervals, including surfaces and high traffic areas – such as kitchen, bathroom and loungeroom areas.

If support is being provided in a client’s bedroom, surfaces in this area must also be cleaned after caregiving.

Cleaning Supplies

OFFICE STAFF

Approval must be sought from the Director before attending the office for any reason.

Any staff member attending must ensure surfaces are thoroughly cleaned after they have been used.

SUPPORT STAFF

Shared spaces must be cleaned at regular intervals, including surfaces and high traffic areas – such as kitchen, bathroom and loungeroom areas.

If support is being provided in a client’s bedroom, surfaces in this area must also be cleaned after caregiving.

PHYSICAL DISTANCING AND LIMITING WORKPLACE ATTENDANCE

Home Offices

OFFICE STAFF

All office staff are to work from home until further notice. Where access to the office is required, approval must be sought from the Director.

SUPPORT STAFF

Not possible for this cohort of staff.

Multiple Worksites

OFFICE STAFF

All office staff must work from home at this time.

SUPPORT STAFF

Where possible, Windsor Health will limit staff to working in one home during this period. There will be instances where this is not possible.

Staff who have shifts in multiple homes have a responsibility to practice thorough infection control between leaving one person’s home and arriving at another.

All staff are to advise Windsor Health if they are working for multiple organisations, who their other employer is, and contact details for that employer.

Worker Screening

OFFICE STAFF

Staff are to advise management if they fall ill.

SUPPORT STAFF

Support Workers must advise when they are unwell and must not attend their shift at any time under these circumstances. Breach of this may lead to disciplinary action or dismissal.

Support Workers must advise Windsor Health Management as soon as symptoms are felt. Management will complete the COVID-19 Exposure Contact Checklist.

Where Support Workers are requested to submit to temperature testing prior to entering a client’s house, they must do so.

Enclosed Work Spaces

SUPPORT STAFF

Apart from the client, one other person is permitted within 4 square metres in any one room.

Where furniture or home décor prevents safe social distancing within the room where support is being provided, move furniture and/or décor to allow for safe social distancing. Ensure clients and their family members know the reason for doing this, and always practice safe manual handling while moving heavy objects.

Never move furniture to a place that prevents safe evacuation from a room or house in the event of an emergency

Record Keeping

OFFICE STAFF

Attendance at the office will be recorded by the Director. If any Office Staff member is confirmed positive for COVID-19 and has attended the office, other staff that may have attended in the 72 hours prior will be notified.

SUPPORT STAFF

Confirmed attendance at a client’s residence will be recorded in the Careflo Software system. Where a staff member’s roster is still being kept via manual record by head office and the Careflo System is not being used to record their attendance yet, in event of a confirmed or suspected case, all staff members will be notified via phone call.

OH&S, Incident, Risk and Hazard Reporting

SUPPORT STAFF

Risks or hazards that may lead to increased likelihood of being exposed to COVID-19 must be reported as soon as possible to The Director, or emailing to support@windsorhealth.com.au

 

Incidents where exposure to or transmission of COVID-19 have been confirmed must be immediately reported as per the Windsor Health Incident and Injury Report form.

BUSINESS AND SERVICE CONTINUITY

Business Risk and Strategies

GENERAL RISKS

  • The organisation is not able to provide support services.
  • Clients, families, and employees are either unable or unwilling to follow organisational advice in place to help keep them safe.
  • Government directives do not meet the support needs of the client.
  • Due to the person’s disability, mental health, stressors and or changes in their routine, there may be more behaviours of concern.

STRATEGIES TO MITIGATE RISK

  • Where possible, service provision to be provided by teleconference.
  • Strengthening and making the recruitment process more efficient to mitigate the risk of staffing issues.
  • Continued communication to staff and clients about updated directives and our expectations regarding those directives.
  • Ensure client care plans, health care plans and contact details are up to date. Contact Behaviour Support Practitioners for updated BSPs where those are in place.

Service Level Risks and Strategies

GENERAL RISKS

Service level risks identified at this time are:

  • High Risk: High Intensity Supports
  • Medium Risk: Personal Care
  • Low Risk: Domestic care and community participation

STRATEGIES TO MITIGATE RISK

  • Where possible, service provision to be provided by teleconference.
  • Strengthening and making the recruitment process more efficient to mitigate the risk of staffing issues.
  • Continued communication to staff and clients about updated directives and our expectations regarding those directives.
  • Ensure client care plans, health care plans and contact details are up to date. Contact Behaviour Support Practitioners for updated BSPs where those are in place.

Communication Risks and Strategies

GENERAL RISKS

  • Information unavailable in the client’s preferred language or method of choice.
  • Lack of communication about updated directives from Government departments
  • Lack of easy-read documentation available about updated directives.

STRATEGIES TO MITIGATE RISK

  • Collection of information about COVID-19 from government departments or other reputable resources
  • Distribution of information about COVID-19 in a client’s preferred language
  • Regular updates from Windsor Health Management/Director regarding information about COVID-19 on various channels – website and social media.
  • Collection of easy-read documentation and distribution of that information to clients who require this.

Contact Tracing

Director will, where there is a suspected case of COVID-19, complete an COVID-19 Exposure Contact Checklist, which identifies whether it is a suspected or confirmed case of the virus, the date of the confirmation and who they have been in contact with during the period of exposure.

Directors will then refer to rosters and/or Careflo records to identify contacts of the client, to ensure that even those that the person with a confirmed or suspected case wasn’t able to identify during this survey are made aware of their potential exposure.

Those at risk become symptomatic, they must be tested and self-isolate until the test results are confirmed as negative.

If services can be delivered by teleconference (not possible with high-intensity or personal care supports) this can be arranged.

Workplace Disinfection

Where there has been a confirmed case of COVID-19 within a client’s home, services will only resume once the home has been disinfected.

NDIS participants living in their own home who test positive for COVID-19 and are required to self-isolate or quarantine are now able to claim for related cleaning costs.

The client and/or their primary caregiver is able to confirm the cleaning process has taken place in accordance with DHHS guidance via email notification to the Directors at support@windsorhealth.com.au

An OH&S Workplace Safety Checklist will be completed by the Director via teleconference or by a suitably trained staff member on site prior to regular service commencement.

Employee Positive In Attendance

Employees are to advise the Director immediately in the case that they have undergone a test for COVID-19. If a test has been conducted the employee is to immediately self-isolate and will be taken off the roster until they have been confirmed negative.

If an employee fails to do this, they are liable for disciplinary action, or instant dismissal.

In the unlikely case that the employee has failed to advise and self-isolate, and they receive notification of their positive result while on shift, the employee is to immediately leave the client’s home, advise the client and their other residence within the home to practice infection control, and phone the Windsor Health Director via the 24/7 mobile 0468 774 836. They are to quarantine immediately.

If an employee becomes symptomatic on shift, they are to immediately leave the client’s home, advise the client and their other residence within the home to practice infection control, and phone the Windsor Health Director via the 24/7 mobile 0468 774 836. The employee is to immediately arrange for a test and self-isolate in accordance with government directives. A suitable Support Worker will be found to replace the shift, if one can be found.

Incidents and hazards will be reported in accordance with the COVID-19 Safe Plan.

Notification of Suspected or Positive Cases

Director will make immediate contact with staff on a client’s roster regarding a suspected or confirmed case via phone call. They will also contact the client or their primary supports.

Where no contact can be made via phone call, the Director will continue to try for a period of 24 hours. If still no contact can be made, an email will be sent advising of the suspected or confirmed case.

DHHS will additionally be notified immediately after a confirmed case of the virus.

Records from the period of 48 hours prior to the last shift attended by the staff member will be collected – including the client’s roster, contact details and contact details for the employees.

Where there is a confirmed case, the Director will lead the engagement with DHHS to undertake employer-led contract tracing.

Notifications to the NDIS Commission

Windsor Health are required to notify the NDIS Commission of changes to the organisation and its services under sections 13 and 13A of the NDIS (Provider Registration and Practice Standards) Rules 2018.

For the purposes of this plan the changes most likely to occur due to COVID-19 are:

  • Events which extensively limit Windsor Health’s ability to comply with the Practice Standards listed in the NDIS (Provider Registration and Practice Standards) Rules 2018.
  • Events which seriously impair Windsor Health’s ability to effectively conduct its operations and deliver services we are registered to provide, including:
    • A decision not to accept, on a temporary or permanent basis, new participants for supports or services that Windsor Health is registered to provide
    • A significant or adverse change in wait times for the provision of supports or services.
    • A significant shortfall in the availability of workers.
    • The cessation, on a temporary or permanent basis, the provision of supports or services that Windsor Health is registered to provide
    • A worker’s confirmed COVID-19 infection
    • A client’s confirmed COVID-19 infection
  • Any changes to the scale of its operations, including:
    • A significant increase or decrease of clients being supported because of staff losses due to infection or participant cancellations due to infection
    • A decrease in staff that is unexpected and/or to the extent that Windsor Health is unable to provide service continuity to clients.

The Directors has responsibility for reporting this to the Commission. They will provide details of:

  • Suburbs impacted
  • Number of staff impacted
  • Number of clients impacted
  • Any decisions made to minimize potential infection through the discontinuation of supports
  • Class of supports impacted
  • Actions taken to date

Any other relevant information,

Notifications to Worksafe Victoria

Where there is a confirmed case in an employee, the director will immediately notify Worksafe via the incident notification hotline 13 23 60 and provide formal written notification within 48 hours via the Confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis reporting form.