Home care services during COVID-19 – webinar

Archive for April, 2020

Home care services during COVID-19 – webinar

Some people are asking if it is still safe to receive services in the home from aged care providers in the current COVID-19 environment. It is a very valid question.

OPAN, the Older Persons Advocacy Network, streamed a webinar in early April on this very topic. The webinar is available to view on the OPAN website now.

In it, health and industry experts provide information for older people, their families and their representatives about how to safely receive home care services during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Click here to watch the OPAN webinar.




Jubilee’s response to coronavirus

With the evolving situation around coronavirus (COVID-19), Jubilee Community Care is well prepared to continue providing care and support to our clients. The work of Jubilee in providing a service is classed by the Federal Government as essential and your services will continue to be provided.

Jubilee would like to reassure you that your support worker is trained and their competencies assessed in infection control and hand hygiene. Training and assessment are conducted regularly by an external registered nurse. Also, our staff have been instructed not to work if they are unwell. This is not a new procedure but is embedded in to our organisational practice.

We have introduced additional measures within our procedures to safeguard the safety and wellbeing of clients and support workers.

An important procedural change is for support workers to telephone clients prior to a scheduled service to ask the following questions:

1. Have you returned from overseas travel in the past 14 days?
2. Are you waiting for a test result for COVID-19?
3. Do you have a positive diagnosis, or do you have close contact with someone who has a positive diagnosis or who is waiting on test results?
4. Do you feel unwell or have flu-like symptoms or fever?

If any question is answered yes, then the service will not take place. This is to safeguard the health of your support worker and reduce the risk of infections within the community. Please also note that your support worker is using the above questions for themselves on a daily basis to ensure they can attend work.

Personal Protective Equipment: We are continuing to place orders for personal protective equipment with our own suppliers and through Government systems set up for healthcare service providers. Your support worker will use personal protective equipment as required in your service – gloves, booties, aprons and hand sanitiser.

Using a client’s EFTPOS for unaccompanied shopping: Some shops are refusing to take cash. Therefore, in the present circumstances and only with your agreement, your support worker will use your EFTPOS card for payment of shopping on your behalf. Please note that we can only use PayWave cards and support workers do not have permission to use a client’s PIN number.

Flu Vaccination: Every year, and this year will be no exception, we strongly advise support workers to get their flu shot. We cover the costs incurred by staff.

The Jubilee Community Care Critical Incident Team (CIT) has been enacted to cover off on tasks such as rostering, communication, purchase and distribution of personal protective equipment, workplace health and safety, and support of staff. The CIT team consists of a GP (member of our management committee), myself, our client support manager who is a registered nurse, and senior members of staff.

We have arranged for office-based staff to work from home on a rotational basis. This is designed for social distancing and to maintain our operational capability. We have cancelled our activities and events program until further notice. Clients’ care plan reviews will be conducted by client support coordinators by telephone.

We have introduced a “Quarantine Payment” for permanent and casual staff. This will cover a staff member’s wages for two weeks (also applied to casual employees who would otherwise not receive payment) if they need to self-isolate.
Our planning is designed to continue to provide the highest quality in-home care and support services to our clients through our wonderful staff.

COVID-19 can affect anyone, but people with pre-existing health problems and older people are thought to be at greater risk of developing severe symptoms.

What should I do if I feel ill? The symptoms of COVID-19 are a cough, a high temperature and shortness of breath. These symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness so do not be alarmed. It is still more likely that anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms will have the flu or a bad cold, not COVID-19.

However, if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in contact with someone with these symptoms, contact your GP immediately. Do not go directly to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Please also contact Jubilee Community Care on 3871 3220. Make sure you eat well, stay hydrated and get plenty of rest.

Who is at risk? Having a health condition does not make you more likely than anyone else to contract coronavirus, but it is important you take precautions to avoid the infection because your symptoms could be more severe if you get sick. It appears that people who are older, those with weakened immune systems and people who have underlying chronic conditions including asthma, diabetes or heart disease are more at risk of severe effects. Most people recover from coronavirus quickly after a few days rest. For some people, it can be more severe and, in rare cases, life-threatening.

How can I stay safe? Carry on taking sensible steps to reduce your risk of picking up infections. The virus is thought to be spread by coughs and via contaminated surfaces, such as handrails and door handles in public places.

Good hygiene can stop the virus spreading between people:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze.
  • Put used tissues in the bin immediately.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water often – use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
  • Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

Should I use a face mask? Department of Health guidelines advise that surgical masks are only helpful in preventing people who have coronavirus from spreading it to others. If a person is well they do not need to wear a mask. There is little evidence that widespread use of masks in healthy people prevents transmission.

What about my medication? It is important that even if you are unwell, you continue to take your prescribed medication. If you need to collect prescriptions while unwell, ask a friend or family member to collect them for you.

Do I need a flu vaccination? Coronavirus is a different virus to flu, but flu can also make you sick and can be severe in some people. Everyone is encouraged to get a flu vaccination, particularly people aged 65 and over, pregnant women, and people with underlying health conditions or weakened immune systems.

I have asthma. What should I do? Keep taking your preventer inhaler as prescribed. This will help cut your risk of an asthma attack being triggered by any respiratory virus, including coronavirus.

I have diabetes. What should I do? Those living with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes could be at greater risk of more severe symptoms. Coronavirus can cause complications in people with diabetes. If you have diabetes and you have symptoms such as a cough, high temperature and feeling short of breath, you need to monitor your blood sugar closely and call your GP.

What if I have a different chronic health issue? Those with underlying medical issues like high blood pressure, lung complaints and weakened or compromised immune systems are more likely to develop serious illness if infected with coronavirus. To lower their risk of catching coronavirus, follow good hygiene guidelines. If you show symptoms you should immediately telephone your GP.

For more information phone the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080.




Celebrations as Jean turns 100

Jubilee Community Care client Jean joined an exclusive club on February 25 when she celebrated her 100th birthday. Jean was the centre of attention at a party that included family, interstate visitors and longtime friends.

Daughter Juleen said Jean was thrilled to have marked the milestone. “My daughter Ainslie, who lives in London, and my son Warwick who lives in Canada, Jean’s only grandchildren, flew over for the special week,” Juleen said. “Also there were old neighbours and friends mum hadn’t seen in 30 to 40 years, but they had always kept in touch so it was very exciting and quite overwhelming for her.”

Juleen said Jean loved receiving her letters of congratulations from Her Majesty the Queen, the Governor General, Prime Minister, Lord Mayor and local politicians. “She was thrilled she actually made it to 100 and has had a wonderful week of celebrations.”

Jean was born in Brisbane in 1920 soon after her parents arrived from England. She grew up in Sherwood, attending Sherwood State School and St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School. Jean had her own hairdressing business before the family moved to Darwin. Moves to Sydney and Adelaide followed before Jean and her family returned to Brisbane in 1970.

And Jean’s secret to old age – “Eating vegetables – the more the better,” Juleen said of her mother’s practice. “Though never a vegetarian, no meal was complete without at least four or five different vegetables,” she said. “In fact, though she is no longer able to type or correspond, when Jean’s grandson created an email address for Jean many years ago he made her password Veggies!”




Public holiday changes to services

There will be changes to services provided by Jubilee Community Care on the upcoming public holidays.

These days are Friday, April 10 (Good Friday); Monday, April 13 (Easter Monday); Saturday, April 25 (Anzac Day); and Monday, May 4 (Labour Day).

Essential services of personal care, medication assistance and meal preparation will be provided on these days while domestic assistance, social support, respite and shopping services will not be.

The office will be closed on these public holidays. For information phone the Jubilee office on 3871 3220.




Jubilee activities suspended

Jubilee Community Care has made the decision to temporarily suspend all programs and events due to the coronavirus. It was not a decision made lightly however, the health of our clients, staff and the wider public must be of highest concern.

The suspension, which took effect in mid March, has affected our hydrotherapy and exercise classes, our Jubilee Wanderers activities program, our Stay Connected program as well as Stay Standing. It is unknown at this stage how long the suspension will last however as soon as it is safe to do so all programs will recommence and be publicised appropriately.

Understandably at this time feelings of social isolation and anxiety over the loss of contact with friends and the community may arise. If you feel vulnerable and socially isolated please contact Jubilee so regular phone calls to you can be made to ensure both your physical and emotional wellbeing. Phone 3871 3220.