As of 24 November 2022
NSW is experiencing a COVID-19 wave, which is expected to peak in December 2022.
Home care service providers and employers should:
The advice on this page also applies to people working within the Commonwealth Home Support Programme.
All in-home care service providers should maintain vigilance to prevent the introduction of COVID-19 into a person's home.
Providers should undertake their own risk assessments to determine safe delivery of services. These should take into consideration the prevalence of COVID-19 in the community, vaccination status of both staff and client and types of services being provided.
Staff should actively ask clients about symptoms on arrival. If staff become aware of a client with symptoms, arrangements should be made for COVID-19 testing.
Throughout this document, reference is made to Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI) Guidance.
Employers should ensure they have business continuity plans in place to support adequate staffing coverage, particularly during the COVID-19 wave.
Staff, including students, contractors, volunteers, pathology collectors and therapists should not provide a home care service if they:
If the exposure has been
in the workplace, managers should refer to Appendix 2 of the RACF ARI Guidance to support decision making for when staff can safely return to work, particularly if they are critical to service delivery.
If the exposure has been
outside of the workplace, staff should refer to the
Advice for people exposed to COVID-19 fact sheet. Employers are encouraged to determine their own advice for when it is safe for employees to return to work. This may include asking the staff member to take additional precautions to decrease the risk of transmission and test regularly after exposure to someone with COVID-19. Managers should refer to
COVID-19 advice for staff in high-risk community and/or private settings to support their decision making.
It is recommended that home care staff undergo a COVID-19 RAT at least every 3 days.
All home care staff should wear a surgical mask covering their nose and mouth whilst providing in-home care. This is particularly important at times of high community transmission. A staff member may remove their mask:
Anyone removing a mask for one of these reasons should remain 1.5 metres from others, particularly in indoor communal areas.
Public Health (COVID-19 Care Services) Order (No 3) 2022, all staff, health practitioners and students providing in-home and community aged care or disability services must have had 3 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. The third dose is due 3 months after a person's second dose. For staff (including new staff) who have had 2 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, they must have their third dose within 6 weeks of their third dose being due.
Exemptions under the Public Health (COVID-19 Care Services) Order (No 3) 2022 relating to the third dose of a COVID-19 vaccination may apply to some staff, including:
These exemptions do not permanently exempt the person from the requirement to have a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Staff who do not meet the conditions in the exemption instrument must comply with the vaccination direction in the Public Health (COVID-19 Care Services) Order (No 3) 2022. Providers should work with staff to make sure they are able to access their third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine when it is due.
Staff who have a medical contraindication to all reasonably available COVID-19 vaccinations will require a COVID-19 medical contraindication certificate.
See further information on Public Health Orders and Exemptions.
Day activity programs are permitted to operate
Staff and participants should not attend if they have tested positive to COVID-19, have any COVID-19 symptoms, or have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
In arranging activities, day program providers should maintain COVID-19 safe practices including:
For the best protection against severe illness it is important to be up to date for all vaccinations including COVID-19 and influenza. Clients should be strongly encouraged to receive both booster doses for COVID-19 if they are eligible. This helps provide added protection during times of increased COVID-19 in the community.
Providers should encourage clients to meet with their GPs to develop a care management plan, which will help to support vaccination, testing and treatment for COVID-19. Clients who are at high risk of severe illness may be eligible for antiviral medicines.