COVID-19 update 31 August
Achieve Australia continues to closely monitor local community transmission of COVID-19 and follow health authorities advice on all staff and visitors wearing facemasks, limiting external visitors and on site temperature checks. We are also frequently examining the evidence from other sectors and authorities to ensure we are learning from their experiences to reduce any new risks and help keep everyone safe.
In this latest update we provide answers to some frequently asked questions that have been raised by families and visitors in recent times.
What would happen if a staff member tested positive for COVID-19?
Achieve Australia has a detailed organisation wide plan to respond to a positive test by a staff member. The staff member and any of their close contacts would be quarantined from the location while Achieve sends an on-call team of specialist nurses and resources to minimise any risk of infection. We would immediately notify all stakeholders and all clients and staff would be tested at the location. The entire site would be commercially cleaned and we would adopt the tight infection control measures on site until testing and quarantine periods indicated the risk of any further infection had passed.
What would happen if a client tested positive for COVID-19?
Our response to a client testing positive for COVID-19 is similar to a staff member testing positive. Firstly, immediate steps would be taken to quarantine the client and any close contacts on site. We would contact NSW Health for immediate assistance and notify all stakeholders. All clients and staff would be tested at the location. The entire site would be commercially cleaned and we would adopt the tight infection control measures on site until testing and quarantine periods indicated the risk of any further infection had passed.
What are some of the learnings we are taking from other sectors?
The key learnings we have taken from aged care and Victorian disability services sector is that in locations where vulnerable people have shared walkways, bathrooms, laundry’s and kitchens, it is best practice to relocate people who test positive for COVID-19 to hospital. This would be a decision for NSW Health and, based on current advice, the likely action.
In these circumstances, we would work closely with stakeholders and families to ensure appropriate and respectful supports continued to be offered to anyone who needed to be transferred to hospital. We would adopt the same tight infection control measures on site until testing and quarantine periods indicated the risk of any further infection had passed.
If a client who tested positive was not transferred to hospital, a reorganisation of the site to facilitate a complete quarantine of staff, equipment and supports would occur. This would likely involve support from external teams provided by NSW Health working alongside Achieve Australia staff and may even occur at a separate service location at Achieve that is better suited to managing a client with COVID-19.
How do we make decisions about opening services while the virus is a threat?
Firstly, we need to follow the advice of NSW Health. This advice is often general and not specific to the risks at all Achieve Australia’s sites. For this reason, we have been very clear that we will take direction from our families on what, how and when to open other areas of service.
At every Achieve home, our aim is to support clients and their families to reach a consensus about visits and community participation. On a regular basis, we want to bring everyone together to discuss the latest advice and make a collective decision that is suitable for each location. Across our services we are conducting regular Zoom calls to help these discussions take place. In addition, we are always open to feedback on our approach and how we can improve it to meet the individual needs of the people we support.
Thank you for working closely with us as we help stop the spread of COVID-19 in the community and keep everyone safe and well during this time. We will continue to provide further COVID-19 updates as we monitor the situation. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact your local Achieve staff member or call us on 1300 22 44 38.