As a health care provider in the Hunter region, Newcastle and Hunter Community Health are proud to be considered an essential service during COVID-19. This enables our nurses and staff to continue providing support to clients and families who have specific health needs – in particular those who are at higher risk of contracting coronavirus get the health care and support they need during this time.
Many of our clients are elderly, have chronic illness or are immunocompromised. With this in mind, we are not only implementing the advice given by the Australian Government, but also taking extra steps to protect the health and safety of our staff and clients.
For the peace of mind of our clients and their families, we are committed to remaining open and honest about any changes to our operations and services available.
The health and safety of our staff and clients has and will continue to remain the number one priority of our business, and we trust that these measures will help to ensure we can continue to provide the health care services that are essential for our local community.
How are we ensuring safety of clients and staff?
Our team have strengthened their commitment to required health and safety practices, and we are incredibly proud of the way they have adapted during these difficult times.
In addition to our annual mandatory staff training, we have also provided training specifically tailored around the COVID-19 requirements. This includes infection control and handwashing training, which we are ensuring is a mandatory practice through regular compliance checks.
We understand that our team meet with many vulnerable citizens daily. Therefore, we are following strict instructions and guidelines, as provided by the Department of Health, to best provide our services safely throughout COVID-19.
We are ensuring our staff follow these guidelines:
- Practising accurate coughing and sneezing etiquette.
- Educating clients and carers to follow the same etiquette as staff when it comes to sneezing and coughing.
- Frequently practice good handwashing techniques with soap and water. Staff are to also carry around and use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
- Follow a rigorous and frequent cleaning regime in workspaces (this includes the cleaning services for our home care clients)
- Practise social distancing where it is possible to do so
- Use personal protective equipment (PPE) such as surgical masks in higher risk zones (this is in line with the Department of Health guidelines).
- Participation in regular screening for illness of staff members and clients. Every day this is undertaken before each shift for staff members, to assess if they are unwell. Clients are also screened by our staff before each visit to check if they are at risk or are unwell.
- Our organisation is strictly following the guidelines set out by the Department of Health regarding safe work for health care workers.
- All members of staff have quick reference cards to assist in every-day practices which include handwashing, PPE and COVID-19 symptoms.
So, what services are still available during this time?
In line with the precautions and guidelines mentioned above, Newcastle and Hunter Community Health will be continuing to provide services that remain essential for our clients
This includes services such as;
- Personal Care
- Daily activities such as domestic assistance, meal preparation, and shopping. We are conducting these activities in line with what is essential and necessary for each client.
- Aged Care: in-home assistance and personal care support
- Nursing Services (regular assessments, monitoring client health, wound and catheter care). Where possible assessments will be conducted by phone
We are also engaged in social and community participation, supporting clients to remain active in a safe way – such as going for walks, enjoying healthy foods, and light exercise indoors. In all these activities, we follow the current government and department of health guidelines.
It’s worth noting that our services, whilst still available, may differ slightly in delivery.
For example, medical appointments that can be made via tele-health methods (such as video calls) will commence where possible. This will ensure that people can continue to remain safe in their homes whilst also receiving ongoing health support.
Our team understand that not all our services cannot be efficiently provided remotely, and we will continue to provide in-person care while following all necessary precautions.
We are here to ease any stress or confusion, so be sure to reach out to us with your questions. You can do this via our website, or by giving us a call on (02) 4920 1637.