Warragul Wellness Centre

COVID-19 Guidelines and best practice

 

A coronavirus (COVID-19) infection can cause mild to severe respiratory illness. Common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are:

  • Fever

  • Chills or sweats

  • Cough

  • Sore throat

  • Shortness of breath

  • Runny nose

  • Loss of sense of smell

Employees in the healthcare and social assistance industry have a high risk of being exposed to coronavirus (COVID-19). These employees are likely to come into close contact with patients and clients in facilities and in people's homes, and because they work in high traffic environments.

Employers have a duty to provide and maintain, so far as is reasonably practicable, a working environment that is safe and without risks to the health of employees. This includes preventing risks to health, including psychological health, and safety associated with potential exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19) as a result of providing health care and social assistance services in the current circumstances.

Employees have a duty to take reasonable care of their own and others health and safety in the workplace and cooperate with their employers about any action they take to comply with the OHS Act or Regulations.

Health care providers must implement control measures to eliminate or minimise the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the health and safety of their workers, patients and others at the workplace. This is a requirement under Work Health and Safety laws. 

How we best implement social distancing in the consultation setting, including practices with small consultation rooms?

Physical distancing is to be practiced within Warragul Wellness Centre, between staff and patients, and between staff and staff. This includes:

  • Waiting room chairs separated by at least 1.5 metres

  • Direct interactions between staff conducted at a distance

  • Staff and patients to remain at least 1.5 metres apart except for clinical examinations and procedures.

  • Offering Telehealth appointments for some practitioners and services, reducing the number of clients in the centre

  • Ask clients to ring the door bell and allow us to assess how many people are already in the building and whether they can enter, or wait outside

How do we ensure the health of our clients and staff?

  • Follow government advise on the amount of people that are safely allowed in the centre at the same time.

  • Ask all clients to hand sanitise on entry of the centre

  • Providing and encouraging use of facilities or products (eg hand wash stations with soap and hand towels, hand sanitiser with over 60 per cent alcohol, bleach solution for disinfecting/cleaning) to allow employees to maintain good hygiene practices.

  • Avoiding shared use of phones, desks, offices, kitchens or other work tools and equipment.

  • Continue to screen all clients via text message 24 hours before allocated appointment time, reschedule any that are suffering from respiratory symptoms.

  • Thoroughly clean all surfaces and electric tables with between clients

  • Clean common areas multiple times per day

  • Refuse staff to attend who are currently unwell with cold/flu symptoms

  • Reduce reception staff and only have the essential practitioner present for appointments during initial restrictions

  • Communicating any altered expectations and working conditions to patients, clients and visitors to reduce the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) infection to employees.

  • Using video conferencing for staff meetings and communication of centre policy and restriction changes.

  • Providing updated information to all employees, including employees on leave, contractors and casual workers.

How do we know which practitioners can practice?

  • Follow government advise on who is classed as essential or non-essential

  • Each practitioner is following specific advice from their relevant associations regarding their services and any restrictions.

 

Cleaning and disinfection in the centre

Cleaning and disinfecting are two different processes:

Cleaning means physically removing germs, dirt and organic matter from surfaces.

Disinfecting means using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces. It is important to clean before disinfecting because organic matter and dirt can reduce the ability of disinfectants to kill germs.

A combination of cleaning and disinfection will be most effective in removing the COVID-19 virus. Cleaning reduces the soil load on the surface, allowing the disinfectant to work and kill the COVID-19 virus. Disinfectant may not kill the virus if the surface has not been cleaned with a detergent first.

 

Routine cleaning

Workplaces should clean surfaces at least daily. Special attention should be given to frequently touched surfaces (e.g. tabletops, door handles, light switches, desks, toilets, taps, TV remotes, kitchen surfaces and cupboard handles). Ideally, once clean, surfaces should also be disinfected regularly. Alternatively, you may be able to do a 2-in-1 clean and disinfection by using a combined detergent and disinfectant.

Surfaces and fittings should be cleaned more frequently when:

  • visibly soiled

  • used repeatedly by several people (e.g. trolleys, tables, checkouts, EFTPOS machines), and

  • after any spillage.

 

For routine cleaning, disinfectants are usually only necessary if a surface has been contaminated with potentially infectious material. For this reason, when and how often a workplace should undertake disinfection as part of routine cleaning will depend on the likelihood of contaminated material being present at the workplace. For example, in a busy retail environment with many customers and others entering a workplace each day, more frequent disinfection is recommended to prevent the spread of COVID-19. By contrast, for a small work crew operating the same item of plant each day with little interaction with other people, routine disinfection in addition to daily cleaning may not be reasonably practicable.

How do we clean?

Use the following steps to clean an environment:

  1. Wear gloves when cleaning. Gloves should be discarded after each clean. If it is necessary to use reusable gloves, gloves should only be used for COVID-19 related cleaning and should not be used for other purposes or shared between workers. Wash reusable gloves with detergent and water after use and leave to dry. Clean hands immediately after removing gloves using soap and water or hand sanitiser.

  2. Thoroughly clean surfaces using detergent and water. Always clean from the cleanest surfaces to the dirtiest surfaces. This stops the transfer of germs to cleaner surfaces and allows you to physically remove and dispose of the largest possible number of germs.

  3. If you need to use a disinfectant, clean the surface first using detergent then apply a disinfectant or use a combined detergent and disinfectant (see next section). A disinfectant will not kill germs if the surface has not been cleaned first. Apply disinfectant to surfaces using disposable paper towel or a disposable cloth. If non-disposable cloths are used, ensure they are laundered and dried before reusing.

  4. Allow the disinfectant to remain on the surface for the period required to kill the virus (contact time) as specified by the manufacturer. If no time is specified, leave for 10 minutes.

How we would clean if someone at my workplace is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19?

If a person who has been at your workplace is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19, you must thoroughly clean and disinfect all areas of suspected contamination.

Clean and disinfect all areas (for example, offices, bathrooms and common areas) that were used by the suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19. Close off the affected area before cleaning and disinfection. Open outside doors and windows if possible, to increase air circulation and then commence cleaning and disinfection.

  • clean and disinfect hard surfaces using either: a physical clean using detergent and water followed by a clean with 1,000 ppm bleach solution (2-step clean), for example, household bleach or hospital-grade bleach solutions that are readily available from retail stores. Bleach solutions should be made fresh daily.

  • a physical clean using a combined detergent and 1,000 ppm bleach solution (2-in-1 clean) made up daily from a concentrated solution (refer to the Department of Health website for more information on achieving the correct bleach solution).

Once cleaning and disinfection is complete, place disposable cloths, PPE and covers in a plastic rubbish bag, place it inside another rubbish bag (double-bagging) and dispose of the bag in the general waste.

There is no need to close an entire workplace, while cleaning and disinfection takes place, particularly if the person infected, or suspected to be infected, has only visited parts of the workplace. However, the cleaning and disinfection must occur before any workers return to affected areas.

Whether you need to suspend operations in your workplace will depend on factors such as the size of the workplace, nature of work, number of people, and suspected areas of contamination in your workplace.

Those cleaning an area of suspected contamination need to be equipped with appropriate Personal protective equipment (PPE). This includes disposable gloves and safety eye wear to protect against chemical splashes. If there is visible contamination with respiratory secretions or other body fluids in the area, the cleaning staff should also wear a disposable apron. If the person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 is in the area to be cleaned (e.g. a hotel room), put on a surgical mask and ask the person to step outside if possible.

Clean your hands using soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or where this is not possible, hand sanitiser of with at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol as the active ingredient] before putting on and after removing PPE.

Cleaning equipment including mop heads and cloths should be laundered using hot water and completely dried before re-use. Cleaning equipment such as buckets should be emptied and cleaned with a new batch of disinfectant and allowed to dry completely before re-use.

 

Disposal or cleaning of materials and PPE

Reusable, washable cloths, PPE and covers should be washed in a regular cycle wash using the warmest possible setting with normal washing detergent. Avoid shaking out the items before placing in the washing machine.

Wear disposable gloves to handle used cloths, PPE and covers. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after removing the gloves.

Regularly wash the hamper in which used PPE is stored while it is waiting to be laundered. If the hamper is not washable, use a disposable lining, and replace regularly.

Reusable, non-washable PPE such as eye protection, should be wiped clean with a detergent solution first, then wiped over with a disinfectant, and left to air dry. Smearing or residues might result, and this can be cleaned off by using more detergent solution and rinsing clean only after the disinfectant has dried.

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 Copyright Warragul Wellness Centre 2017