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Infection Control & PPE
What is an Infectious Disease?
Infectious diseases are caused by microorganisms (such as viruses, bacteria). Microorganisms that cause disease can also be called “pathogens”.
Infectious diseases can be spread from person to another, for example through the air (coughing or sneezing) or through bodily fluids. Another word for disease spreading from one person to another is “transmission”.
There are things you can do to reduce the risk of transmission, and we call these things “Infection control”.
Infection control helps to prevent the transmission of germs and disease. Infection control covers a wide range of practices and we encourage you to access these resources to learn all about it.
This document is not a comprehensive guide to infection control, instead it focuses on the key measures that we in the Suitsme community can take to prevent the spread of disease.
Monitor your health and take steps to protect others
Monitor your health and if you feel unwell:
- Stay at home
- Cancel support sessions and let your workers/clients know.
- Seek advice from a medical professional such as your GP
- Talk to Suitsme about how sessions can continue while you are unwell.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Suitsme’s focus is on community, civic and recreation outcomes. Suitsme workers do attend client’s homes and may prompt some daily living tasks, however Suitsme workers do not complete tasks such as:
- Manual Handling
- Showering or
It’s therefore unlikely that a Suitsme worker will have close physical contact with a client and in most cases social distancing will be possible.
Suitsme’s PPE policy is based on the scope outlined above. If a worker or a client identifies additional risks that they are concerned about then please contact us or submit an incident report and we will work with you to assess and control the risk.
When a government guideline or Suitsme policy tells you to wear a mask, you have to wear one. If you are exempt from wearing a mask then you will need to provide evidence of this to Suitsme.
Check out these resources to learn how to use a mask effectively.
Suitsme is committed to providing appropriate PPE to ensure support can be delivered safely. If you identify an infection risk then make sure you report it to Suitsme so we can work with you to put appropriate controls in place and provide PPE as required.
Regular cleaning helps to get rid of pathogens and reduce the spread of disease. Here are some general guidelines for routine cleaning:
- clean and dry work surfaces before and after use or when visibly soiled
- spills should be wiped up immediately;
- use detergent and warm water for routine cleaning;
- where surface disinfection is required, use in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions;
- clean and dry surfaces before and after applying disinfectants;
- empty buckets after use, wash with detergent and warm water and store dry; and
- mops should be cleaned in detergent and warm water then stored dry.
The areas that you are most likely to access during sessions are a client’s home and a worker’s car.
Suitsme encourages clients to follow the steps above and to maintain a clean home.
If a worker is concerned about the cleanliness of a client’s home then they should report this as an incident via the app.
Suitsme acknowledges that some clients will require support to maintain routine cleaning. Suitsme will work with clients and their key supporters to ensure their NDIS funding is being utilised effectively to maintain a safe living environment.
As a Suitsme worker you are expected to:
- Ensure your car is clean before you start work for the day
- Prior to every session, clean surfaces with disinfectant wipes. 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.
Suitsme recommends that you carry disinfectant wipes or spray and disposable or dedicated gloves with you to enable you to meet the expectations above.
It is appropriate for you to encourage clients to disinfect their side of the car when they get out of the car.
Hand hygiene means cleaning your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitiser. Proper hand hygiene reduces the spread of germs. Good hand hygiene is the most effective way to stop infections spreading.
Even when your hands look clean they can still be carrying germs. This is because they are so small that you just can’t see them. This is why when we touch other people or objects we can spread germs without even realising it.
You should wash your hands properly and often, especially:
- after you cough, sneeze or blow your nose
- before, during and after preparing food
- after going to the toilet or changing a nappy
- when your hands are visibly dirty
- after smoking
- after handling or patting animals
- before and after taking care of someone who is sick
- when you enter and leave a healthcare facility.
It is important that you use disposable tissues rather than your hands or a handkerchief when you cough or sneeze. Make sure you always:
- cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or use your inner elbow
- put the tissue into a closed-top bin as soon as possible
- then wash your hands with soap and warm water, or use hand sanitiser.
Contact with bodily fluids
The duties of your role should not bring you into contact with client’s bodily fluids. If you are supporting a client to clean then the client should clean areas with bodily fluids while you prompt or assist with other tasks. It is ok for you to refuse to provide support that would require you to come into contact with bodily fluids.
In the unlikely event that you come into contact with bodily fluids then:
- Seek and follow medical advice. Your immediate priority is to look after your own safety.
- Report this as an incident via the app.