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COVID-19 information for Mental Health Support Workers based in WA

You are required to stay up to date with and follow Government guidelines relating to COVID-19.

Before providing face to face support

Symptoms

Do not provide face to face supports if you feel unwell or have symptoms. Stay home, get tested and follow government guidelines if you have any of the following, no matter how mild:

  • Fever (≥37.50C) OR recent history of fever (e.g. night sweats, chills), without a known source
  • Acute respiratory symptoms (including cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny nose)
  • Acute loss of smell or taste

You can find out more about COVID-19 testing here and find a testing clinic here.

You can offer remote supports if you feel up to it, and must only provide face to face supports when you receive a negative test result.

Screening Questions

Before you provide any face to face supports always ask the client the following screening questions:​

  • Do you have a fever, acute respiratory symptoms or acute loss of smell or taste?
  • As far as you know, are you a close contact with someone who is infected with COVID-19? 
  • Are you currently required to self isolate in line with government guidelines?

If a client answers yes to any of these questions then  face to face supports cannot be provided. 

  1. Contact the client and see if they would like support to be provided remotely. 
  2. Report this as an incident via the app

During Sessions

Hand hygiene

Wash your hands prior to the session beginning or use hand sanitizer (alcohol-based > 60%) if hand washing facilities are not available. Continue to do this regularly throughout the session. Workers can purchase alcohol based hand sanitizer and be reimbursed by Suitsme.

You must maintain compliance with Suitsme’s Infection control and PPE document.

Masks

You are required to comply with all public health advice set out by the Western Australian Government. You can keep up to date with the advice here.

Masks are required in certain settings, however Suitsme strongly recommends that you wear a mask during sessions regardless of the setting.

You can read more about PPE and how to wear a mask in the Infection control and PPE document.

Clients also need to follow government guidelines and practice safe behaviours. If clients do not follow the government advice and the session is unsafe, do not continue the session and report it as an incident.

Transporting clients

  • Wear a mask
  • Ensure your car is clean before you start your shift
  • Prior to the client getting in the car, clean surfaces with disinfectant wipes so that the potential spread of infection can be minimised. You should focus on high use areas such as seatbelts, window buttons and door handles.
  • Disinfect your hands with hand sanitiser after cleaning the car.
  • When you return to the client’s home, repeat the process of cleaning surfaces with disinfectant wipes focusing on high use areas such as seatbelts, window buttons and door handles.
  • It is appropriate to ask the client to assist with this and disinfect the areas where they were sitting.

You can read more about routine cleaning in the Infection control and PPE document.

Social Distancing

You are required to comply with all public health advice set out by the Western Australian Government. You can keep up to date with the advice here.

COVID-19 Reimbursements for workers

Suitsme will reimburse workers for reasonable costs of:

  • Hand sanitiser, as long as the worker has worked at least one face to face shift.
  • Disinfectant wipes, as long as the worker has transported a client in their car.

To claim a reimbursement:

  1. Buy the product and keep the receipt
  2. Send the receipt to accounts@suitsme.app with the heading “COVID-19 reimbursement”
  3. Get paid the reimbursement in that pay cycle

Vaccination

Suitsme strongly encourages you to be fully vaccinated. This includes getting your booster within a month of becoming eligible. You are required to provide Suitsme with evidence of your vaccination status.

Some facilities such as hospitals, aged care or disability support accommodation require you to be vaccinated to enter. If you have chosen to not get vaccinated you will be unable to support clients who live in or regularly access these facilities.

Suitsme expects you to encourage and support clients to get vaccinated. Once client’s are vaccinated, please support them to indicate this in the app.

Supporting Clients to get proof of Vaccination

Proof of vaccination is now required to access a range of venues including cafes, gyms and cinemas. You can see the full list of venues here. Suitsme clients are already at higher risk of social isolation than the general public this risk increases if they are not able to access the community.

There are a number of ways clients can prove they are vaccinated. You can read about them all here, but we recommend setting up the Service WA app. 

ServiceWA App

The WA Government has launched the ServiceWA app. The app allows you to show proof of your COVID-19 vaccination, check in at businesses and venues with SafeWA, and access your G2G Pass for interstate travel – all in one place. The app is a bit tricky to set up. It would be a good idea to set up your own ServiceWA app so that you can then support clients with it.

What is a “close contact”?

A close contact is now defined as:

  • a household member or intimate partner of a person with COVID-19 who has had contact with them during their infectious period,
  • someone who has had close personal interaction with a person with COVID-19 during their infectious period, where they spent 4 hours of cumulative contact with them in a residential setting, (i.e. a home, accommodation facility) in a 24 hour period, where masks have been removed by both people for all of this period
  • someone who is directed by WA Health that they are a close contact.

What do I do if I’m a close contact?

  1. Let Suitsme know ASAP. You can do this by logging an incident in the app.
  2. Follow Government guidelines

You can find out more about COVID-19 testing including Rapid Antigen Tests here

If you are required to self isolate then you may be eligible for either State or Federal payments. Follow the links to find out more.

What do I do if I test positive for COVID-19?

  1. Do not attend sessions
  2. Let Suitsme know ASAP. You can do this by logging an incident in the app.
  3. Follow Government guidelines

If you test positive, then you will need to self isolate for 7 days. You do not need a negative COVID-19 result to leave isolation and return to work if you have completed 7 days of isolation since testing positive, and no longer have symptoms.

If you are required to self isolate then you may be eligible for either State or Federal payments. Follow the links to find out more.

What do I do if a client I support is a close contact or tests positive for COVID-19?

Let Suitsme know ASAP. You can do this by logging an incident in the app.

Do not attend your sessions with the client until Suitsme has confirmed it is ok. 

You can still provide non-face to face supports to the client. You can chat to them about what their preferences for this are.