Aug 13, 2021

Should home care workers have to reveal their vaccine status to clients?

Should home care workers have to reveal their vaccine status to clients?

With vaccination still not mandatory in home care, is there an obligation for aged care workers in the community to let their clients know if they have received their jab, or not?

A member of HelloCare’s Aged Care Worker Support Group raised the issue when she asked members if home care workers are obliged to tell the truth when asked about their vaccination status.

“When a client asks you if you’ve had your covid needles yet, what do you say?” asked Susan*.

“Do you tell them the truth? Is it any of their business? Do you say yes to stop them giving you a lecture if you haven’t? Do you say yes if you have?

“Do you say no and go and start the vacuum back up so you can’t hear them go crook at you?

HelloCare reader, Marian, who wished to be identified by only her first name, is in her 80s, a widow and lives alone in her home in Tasmania. She is receiving home care services through a home care package.

When asked if home care workers should reveal the truth when asked about their vaccine status, she was blunt.

Home care workers are entering the home of their client who is likely to have a weaker immune system if they are receiving support. Clients are perfectly entitled to know if the person coming into their home to provide support has been vaccinated against a potentially deadly virus, and they also have the right to refuse entry to their home.

While there are no COVID-19 cases in Tasmania at present, Marian says she’s “not fearful” about letting unvaccinated staff into her home for the time being.

Marian questioned why the vaccine is mandatory for residential aged care workers and not home care. 

The home care situation is in stark contrast to that in residential aged care where visitors are restricted to two per day, only allowed for short visits, have to prove their vaccination status and must wear a mask.

There are no such restrictions for home care.

“Why isn’t all aged care coped with the same?” she asked.

If it’s mandatory for staff in residential aged care to be vaccinated, certainly home care clients deserve the same protections.

It should go without saying that aged care workers should tell their clients the truth, particularly when it comes to matters that could jeopardise the client’s health, such as vaccination status. 

Home care workers fearing a lecture by their clients on the benefits of vaccination could save themselves the worry, put their personal concerns aside, and get the jab. They could be saving the life of their client, and their own, in the process.

 

* Name has been changed.

 

What do you think? Should home care workers have to reveal their vaccination status to clients?

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  1. I think that all clients should have to reveal their vaccination status also.

    I am fully vaccinated but only about 30% of my clients have been vaccinated. Many have no way of getting the vaccine and of course, their case managers do nothing to assist.

    Many say they don’t t go anywhere so they won’t catch it, that is despite the fact they have family members regularly visit.

  2. Any suggestion that Home Care Workers are not obliged to reveal their true vaccination status to clients, if asked, is totally disrespectful of Home Care clients rights.

    The Aged Care Royal Commission was all about substantial parts of an industry that sees elderly people as a profit opportunity, regardless of their human rights, consumer rights, safety or dignity.

    To hear that attitude reflected by some staff believing they have the right to breach their duty of care to their clients by refusing vaccination, or lying about it, just proves the Royal Commission revelations have not changed the attitudes of some people.

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