Posted on Friday, 20th March, 2020
COVID-19 is the issue on everyone’s mind right now, especially the Aged Care industry. Due to the risk it presents to the elderly and infirm, Aged Care organisations are responding daily to the pandemic as new information comes to light.
While the standard Aged Care hygiene protocols are already in place to deal with an infectious outbreak at an Aged Care facility, a lot of organisations are implementing extra measures to help protect their residents.
The New Zealand Government in consultation with health authorities and the World Health Organization is continuing to provide updates, as the advice changes daily. It is therefore imperative to regularly check the government website. For all COVID-19 information, visit the Unite against COVID-19 website.
Aged Care Facilities in New Zealand are advised to review the information from the New Zealand Ministry of Health and check regularly for updates on COVID-19 Information for Aged Care providers.
Blue Cross Aged Care in Victoria, Australia has implemented their standard infection control procedures, as well as the additional measure of having staff placed in compulsory isolation if they have been overseas, have family/household members who have been overseas or show any signs at all of the cold or flu.
Some Aged Care facilities in Orange, New South Wales, Australia have in recent weeks undertaken reviews of their plans and procedures to ensure that staff are up to date with them and that necessary supplies including protective equipment are available.
Altura Learning is also offering a COVID-19 course targeted at Aged Care as an option for training and further information.
- Ensure all kitchen staff, food service staff and volunteers are aware of all infection protocols, procedures and food safety standards.
- Ensure all kitchen staff, food service staff and volunteers are aware of the isolation criteria for your facility, prior to them entering your facility.
- Ensure your residents are aware, but not alarmed by any changes made to their dining routine due to the new conditions.
Important tips for Aged Care Chefs, kitchen staff, carers, resident family members and visitors to remember regarding COVID-19
Immediately isolate (and, if necessary, seek medical attention) if you:
- Have returned from any countries or regions that are at high or moderate risk of COVID-19.
- Think you may have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19.
- Develop a fever, cough and/or other symptoms.
It also makes sense to be extra vigilant when vetting casual staff and volunteers who may only be coming in to assist for a day or a few hours.
Visitors will also need to be assessed prior to entering the facility if there has been any recent international travel or illness.
Prevent the spread:
- Wash hands frequently and for at least 20 seconds using soap and water:
- Before starting work.
- Before handling cooked or ready-to-eat food.
- Before and after eating.
- After handling or preparing raw food.
- After handling waste.
- After cleaning duties.
- After using the toilet.
- After blowing the nose, sneezing or coughing.
- Cover coughs and sneezes in a flexed elbow or with tissues, throw tissues away in a closed bin, and use alcohol-based (at least 60% concentration) hand sanitisers.
- If unwell, stay away as much as possible.
- Avoid close contact with anyone with cold/flu-like symptoms.
- Clean and disinfect all high-touch surfaces frequently.