Australia’s support and care workers help some of the most vulnerable members of the community. Older people and those with a disability are particularly susceptible to the effects of COVID-19, so if you work in the industry, it’s vital you do all you can to protect them, while keeping you and your own family safe.
We’re committed to helping you and your team stay safe, so as part of our ongoing efforts, we’ve added new functionality to the app that gives a simple COVID safety reminder to check for symptoms every time care workers clock-in to start a shift. (Support providers have the option of turning this on and off as needed.)
How you can stay COVID safe?
It’s probably not something you thought about when you started your career, but as a support worker, you’re part of Australia’s frontline defence against the global pandemic.
Your employer will be very aware of the risks to you and your clients, so it’s important you follow their instructions, which will have been put together with guidance from the Public Health Unit. That said, it’s ultimately you who is responsible for staying safe, so here are some things you should be doing to stay safe.
1 - Check how you feel 🌡
Pay close attention to your body. Are you warmer, more tired, or less alert than usual? Have you lost your sense of smell or feeling a little short of breath? Along with more obvious symptoms, like a sore throat, runny nose or cough, these can be early warning signs of infection. If in doubt, don’t report for work, self isolate and get tested.
2 - Get vaccinated for flu 💉
Except in Victoria, all aged care workers, and those entering facilities are required to get vaccinated for flu. While it won’t protect you against COVID-19, it will prevent you from getting the flu and the stress those symptoms may cause. People with influenza who become infected with COVID-19 also can experience much more serious complications. Some people getting vaccinated will experience flu-like symptoms as a side effect. While this is likely nothing to worry about, it’s worth getting a COVID test to be on the safe side.
3 - Always wear PPE 😷
The single biggest thing you can do to protect yourself and others is wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), and avoid touching your face. The latest Government recommendations on the appropriate PPE to use can be found here. As a support worker, you should easily get access to PPE, so there’s no excuse not to use it. Be extra careful how you store, remove and dispose of it.
4 - Wash your hands and sanitise 🧼
It almost goes without saying now, but regular hand washing and using a hand sanitiser with at least 70% alcohol are crucial. Be mindful of the surfaces around you too. Door handles, toilet seats, handrails, they’re all surfaces the virus can stay alive on for a long time, so while they should be being thoroughly cleaned, you can do your best to avoid touching them or sanitising afterwards.
By taking these four simple steps, following your employer’s guidelines and social distancing where possible, you can help keep yourself, your family, and your clients safe as you work.
You can read more on working arrangements for people working in the aged care or disability sectors here.