COVID-19 - Use of surgical masks by direct care providers
Some of our clients and family members are asking for their assigned Silver Chain Group direct care or other providers to wear a surgical mask regardless of whether it is indicated for a client known or suspected to have an infectious disease.
Silver Chain Group policy is aimed at protecting our clients and staff. Our policy stipulates:
- To protect clients, providers with a flu-like or other infectious illness (such as COVID-19) will not attend work and put clients or their colleagues at risk.
- To protect staff, staff will wear a mask when infection prevention and control measures are required, to protect them from contracting an infectious disease from the client.
As you may be aware, there is international demand for surgical masks and the Australian Government has requested all health providers limit their use to specific circumstances where there is an increased likelihood of transmission.
Silver Chain Group has infection prevention and control policies and protocols in place including when and how personal protective equipment (PPE) is to be worn (such as face masks, gloves, gowns and eye protection), and staff are trained in these practices and monitored to maximise compliance. These policies align with the government’s clinical guidelines.
For anyone with a flu-like illness who needs to be in a public area or while travelling to a medical appointment, it is recommended that a surgical mask is worn. Don’t forget to call ahead if travelling to a medical appointment. This will help reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19 and other flu-like illnesses to others. In these instances, it is vital that the wearing of a surgical mask is accompanied with strict hand hygiene and respiratory and cough etiquette. Silver Chain will only be able to provide masks to clients if they require them to travel to a medical appointment and do not have their own supply.
In the event that a client requests a staff member to wear a mask, and it is not recommended in our infection control policies and protocols to do so, it will at the discretion of the Silver Chain staff member whether they elect to wear a mask.
If you have any questions or concerns related to this matter do not hesitate to contact us on SC-COVID19Enquiries@silverchain.org.au