Apr 06, 2020

What is the correct use of PPE for aged care workers?

Leading Age Services Australia has provided the following guidance for the correct use of personal protective equipment for aged care workers.

“Aged care workers need to wear additional PPE including a gown, surgical mask, eye protection and gloves when providing care to someone who has been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 and when the close contact has since tested positive (ie. is a confirmed COVID-19 case) or the close contact has developed symptoms of COVID-19 and is waiting for their test results.

“The official guidance indicates that aged care workers do not need to wear any additional PPE, above what is normally used, if they have not been exposed to someone who has symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever, cough, tiredness, and/or difficulty breathing.

“Importantly, if neither the care worker nor the care recipient is symptomatic, then no PPE is required above and beyond normal good hygiene practices.

“Care recipients are encouraged to speak with their home care provider about the ways in which they are working to reduce the risks for transmission of COVID-19 while delivering services to care recipients in their homes if they have any concerns.

“Department of Health guidance says carers should not enter the home of a person who is unwell until their status is ascertained, and PPE is to be utilised as per official guidance. Carers should notify their employer of any confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases.

“Organisations should minimise the number of carers who come into contact with care recipients confirmed or suspected of having COVID-19, and consider which services are critical to keep the care recipient safe.

“Carers should also notify the care recipient’s family and friends (with their consent), and request their assistance to monitor the care recipient’s health condition. If the care recipient’s condition deteriorates, carers should advise the consumer’s GP or call an ambulance.”

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