Individuals receiving care in their own home should be encouraged and supported to follow general advice provided by NSW Health to the public on physical distancing and infection prevention and control. Visit NSW Government - Coronavirus (COVID-19) for advice and information.
Providers should also consider which services are essential to provide and those which can be temporarily suspended to limit contact and exposure.
If the client has fever or symptoms of an acute respiratory illness (sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath, fatigue or cough), even if mild, request they stay in their room or support them to do so, and seek health advice (from their GP or by calling the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080) to exclude COVID-19 as well as to resolve any other health issues
- Discourage symptomatic visitors, even if minimal symptoms, from attending while unwell.
- Anyone, including staff and visitors, who has travelled overseas, disembarked a cruise ship or had contact with a confirmed case must not attend the home for 14 days from the time they returned from overseas, disembarked the cruise or last had contact with a case.
- Provider staff should regularly wash their hands for 20 seconds with soap and water, especially on arrival to the home
- Put in place systems to monitor symptoms of clients and staff.
- Providers should support clients to maintain physical distancing at home where appropriate and in the community
- Consider how to support ongoing connection with family and friends through video and phone
- Consider what other support clients may need at this time e.g. grocery shopping and medication supplies
- Talk with clients, families and staff to assess what is essential support and what can be temporarily suspended
- Providers should consider plans to maintain support services where a client is confirmed to have COVID-19 but is clinically well enough to be isolated at home or where staff who usually attend the client are themselves diagnosed (noting that the client may be a close contact of the COVID-19 positive staff member and thus subject to self-isolation)
- Promote the annual influenza vaccine for clients, staff and other household members, including family and friends who visit.
- Providers should ensure enhanced infection prevention and control procedures are followed at this time by their staff and should appropriately support clients to adhere to these procedures in their own home, as far as possible.
The Clinical Excellence Commission has infection prevention and control guidance available for different settings, including residential care facilities. Guidance for staff providing home visits is being developed.
Personal protective equipment (PPE)
- NDIS providers and self-managing participants who can no longer access personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies through usual means can contact the National Medical Stockpile by emailing NDISCOVIDPPE@health.gov.au.
- If there is a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 within the client’s home setting and PPE stock (a gown, surgical mask, eye protection and gloves is the recommended equipment for contact and droplet precautions when caring for a confirmed case) has been exhausted:
- access to PPE should be sought through the National Medical Stockpile, as above
- NSW Health may be able to facilitate access to PPE through the State Stockpile to meet the immediate needs for the client diagnosed with COVID-19 where they are to remain athome, as well as providing advice on use/rationing to address highest risk activities. Requests should be directed to: MOH-JamesCovid19Support@health.nsw.gov.au.
Due to the nation-wide shortage of PPE, it is critical that it is used wisely and consistently with the evidence. Providers should
- familiarise themselves with the advice on the appropriate use of PPE, available via the Clinical Excellence Commission
- monitor information and Provider Alerts published by the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission
- provide assistance to families or carers on how to access this PPE information.
Providers should ensure staff are aware of any new or worsening usual symptoms for each resident with complex health conditions to ensure that early signs of illness or deterioration are escalated promptly. This understanding is critical for clients who are non-verbal and/or have communication difficulties.