FAQ for our workforce

You will be well aware that the COVID-19 situation is now impacting all of us in some way, shape or form.

During this time, Alliance Community’s priority is to support the health and wellbeing of our community, and our team.

It is important that our team and our community follow the guidelines below, to protect each other, and to ensure that we can continue to provide our clients with quality service standards.

For the latest information on the Coronavirus, please visit the Australian Government Department of Health for guidance or call the National Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health Information Line on 1800 020 080.

  • 1. When should staff not come to work?

    All staff, whether or not they are in healthcare with patient contact, should not come to work if they:

    •  have a fever

    •  have a symptom, even a minor symptom, of respiratory illness, such as a cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny nose or nasal congestion

     

    Staff should quarantine after:

    •  returning from overseas in the past 14 days

    •  being in close contact with someone with confirmed COVID-19

    •  entering a state or territory, or an area within a state or territory, that has a required quarantine period

     

    Staff should isolate:

    •  while waiting for the result of a COVID-19 test

    •  after testing positive for COVID-19

     

    If you feel unwell with COVID-19 symptoms, even mild ones, stay home and get tested for COVID-19.

    Be familiar with the Alliance Community Mandatory Notification Protocol.

  • 2. What are my responsibilities?

     

    Prevent the Spread

    Practising good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene is the best defence against most viruses. You should:

    •  Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, before and after eating, and after going to the bathroom.

    •  Cover your cough and sneeze with your elbow or a tissue. Dispose of tissues and wash your hands with soap and water or use alcohol -based hand sanitiser.

    •  If unwell, seek medical advice and avoid contact with others (stay more than 1.5 metres from people).

    •  Stay informed – complete your further education and review current resources.

     

    Keep us in the Loop!

    Whilst we are reaching out to our clients more than ever, so we can work with you to ensure proper precautions for everyone’s safety, we encourage you to let us know in the case of any of the following:

    •  If you are unwell in any way

    •  If a family member or house guest is unwell or is isolating at home.

    •  If you or a house guest has Contact with COVID or suspected COVID, whether they have symptoms or not.

    •  Concerns about your work

    Your Alliance Community Coordinator is your first port of call with any feedback or concerns. Your Coordinator can also receive calls from families, carers and support workers, too

    Be familiar with the Alliance Community Mandatory Notification Protocol.

  • 3. How will Alliance Community support me if I contract COVID-19 whilst working?

    If you test positive for COVID-19, the Public Health Unit will review and assess your close contacts and provide advice in relation to your medical care and isolation requirements.
     

    You are required to advise the branch office if you are:

    a. Are being tested for COVID-19

    b. Test positive for COVID-19 and report any quarantine or  isolation requirements that you have.


    Our branch will then link you into the current government advice for income support for individuals.

    Refer: https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/subjects/coronavirus-covid-19-and-how-we-may-help


    You are also able to access our Employee Assistance Program (EAP), please contact your branch office for details.

    A medical clearance will be required to return to work. It provides peace of mind for all parties.

     

     

  • 4. What do I do if I don’t feel safe or protected from COVID-19 where I am working?

    Escalate your concerns with your Manager or Coordinator.

    It is also useful to read the relevant Health Department fact sheets: https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/coronavirus-covid-19-resources

     

  • 5. My housemate has been told to self-isolate for 14 days, what do I do?

    If a household member is a suspected case, you may need to be isolated as well. This will be determined by the Public Health Unit on a case-by case basis. Your public health unit will contact you if you need to isolate.

    If you are required to self-isolate you will also need to inform the office on 1300 769 155.

    If you are unclear, best to call the National Coronavirus Help Line on 1800 020 080.

  • 6. If I have self-quarantined for 14 days, and am not displaying symptoms, do I need medical clearance before returning to work?

    Yes, you require a medical clearance to return to work. It gives all parties piece of mind.

    There may be other factors that will impact the individual’s work capacity which Coordinators and Mangers should take into consideration.

    Isolation guidelines refer to:

    https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/how-to-protect-yourself-and-others-from-coronavirus-covid-19/isolation-for-coronavirus-covid-19

    Quarantine guidelines refer to:

    https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/how-to-protect-yourself-and-others-from-coronavirus-covid-19/quarantine-for-coronavirus-covid-19

  • 7. If I’ve been unwell and now not displaying symptoms, do I need a med cert to return to work?

    Yes, you require a medical clearance to return to work. It gives all parties piece of mind.

  • 8. What do I do if I feel like I am in a vulnerable situation, whereby someone I work with is displaying symptoms but refusing to go home or seek medical advice?

    The first thing you should do is to have a respectful chat with your work colleague to express your concerns.

    If you remain concerned following your conversation, discuss these concerns with the Coordinator or Manager.

    The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to other colds and flus and include:

    •   Fever

    •   Sore throat

    •   Cough

    •   Fatigue

    •   Difficulty breathing

    •   Loss of smell and taste

    While COVID-19 is a concern, it is important to remember that most people displaying these symptoms could be suffering with a cold or other respiratory illness – not necessarily COVID-19.

    Always maintain good personal and environmental hygiene, hand washing practice and physical distancing.

  • 9. If the doctors believe I meet the criteria of COVID-19 symptoms, is a test compulsory?

    If the medical officer assesses the person to have symptoms and characteristics that aligned to COVID-19, they will be tested. Without patient consent, a doctor cannot generally perform testing. However, if a doctor is concerned about a patient who has refused testing, they will contact the public health unit for advice. There are powers under state and territory-based legislation to compel testing in certain circumstances and the Public Health Unit has further powers to compel.

  • 10. What is PPE and how about face masks?

    PPE = Personal Protective Equipment

    PPE stands for personal protective equipment. The appropriate PPE is prescribed based on a risk assessment of your work tasks.

    When caring for care recipients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, health care workers are required to wear appropriate PPE which may include masks, gloves, eye shields and/or gowns, to protect themselves from infectious illnesses and help stop the spread of disease. You will be provided training and information on how to use PPE if you are required to use PPE with your client.

    The PPE required will depend on the type of interaction and the health status of the care recipient.

    Risk assessments are conducted to ensure all PPE, including masks are appropriate to your requirements and as per Government Health Guideline recommendations.

    All staff are required to practice social distancing and good hygiene practises.

    It is important that our health workforce remains strong and healthy during this time. 

    Should our support workers be wearing masks at work?

    Risk assessments are conducted to ensure PPE protocols are as per Government Health Guidelines.

    Under current guidelines, healthcare workers should wear masks if they have close contact with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19.

    Healthcare workers are not otherwise required to wear a mask unless there is a medical reason for doing so.

    Current Status in Victoria and NSW - there is community transmission of covid-19 in Victoria and NSW. Current government advice is that community staff are to wear surgical masks whilst providing care and support.

    Refer: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/guide-to-personal-protective-equipment-ppe-for-disability-care-providers

     

  • 11. Where is my closest COVID-19 testing clinic?

    Each state Department of Health has dedicated COVID-19 testing resources.

    If you are having a medical emergency, please call 000.

    GP respiratory clinics around the country to clinically assess people with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms (a fever, cough, shortness of breath, a sore throat and/or tiredness).

    Find out below if there is a GP respiratory clinic in your state/territory and near your area and how to register for an appointment:

    Australian Capital Territory

    New South Wales

    Northern Territory

    Queensland 

    South Australia

    Tasmania

    Victoria

    Western Australia

    Fever clinics Fever clinics operated by public hospitals are generally staffed by nurses. They are not the same as a GP respiratory clinic but they also help to reduce pressure on emergency departments and other services. You can either access these through calling the National Coronavirus Help Line on 1800 020 080 or by their respective state depart of health website.

  • 12. What is the advice about travelling?

    Alliance Community has an obligation to staff, clients, patients & participants to ensure the safety of all concerned and will continue to monitor and update guidelines and processes based on the health departments recommendations.

    As your employer, we request that we are kept informed of any change in your status and your progress as per the Alliance Community Mandatory Notification Protocol.

    Smartraveller: coronavirus information for Australia travellers, and current travel advice. But essentially all international travel has now been banned

    • Department of Home Affairs: https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/news-media/current-alerts/novel-coronavirus

    Australian Competition and Consumer Commission: coronavirus information for consumers about travel changes, event cancellations, and price increases

    • Suburb lockdowns within your state due to ‘hotspots’ may occur. Stay informed

    If you believe, your circumstances are within the criteria above or if you wish to speak to someone regarding your personal circumstances, please contact your Alliance Community Coordinator or Manager IMMEDIATELY.

  • 13. How are you looking after my mental health and wellbeing?

    Whilst we are reaching out to our clients and staff more than ever, we encourage you to let us know directly if you have any concerns. Alternatively these resources are available:

    • Check out our Wellbeing Hub: Producing a range of additional resources to support the health and emotional wellbeing of our employees. (insert link)

    • Speak to your Coordinator or Manager about our Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

     

    General advice for looking after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak:

    • The Federal Government’s Head to Health website can help you find the right digital health resources for your needs. This includes resources on how to support children and others: https://headtohealth.gov.au/

    • Beyond Blue also have a page dedicated to looking after your mental health during this time: https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/looking-after-your-mental-health-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak