Care Association New Zealand
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The Association exists to promote, represent and protect the interests of residential homes and the residents within these establishments. This imposes an obligation on the Association to provide guidance to its members on certain standards to which members are expected to adhere to
Our Association is committed to providing quality care and service with an emphasis on maintaining a strong sense of dignity and independence to residents with varying challenges.
COVID-19 (Corona Virus
It is important that aged care facilities have processes in place to limit the spread of COVID-19 in their facilities. In addition, aged care workers, including nurses and health care assistants are a crucial part of our health care system; providing care, supervision and support for people in residential care. So it is important to keep them well.
This information should be read in conjunction with other information available on this website: https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-novel-coronavirus-information-specific-audiences/covid-19-information-aged-care-providers.
Preventing the spread of the virus
Transmission of COVID-19 is considered to occur primarily through respiratory droplets and secretions. The virus is most likely to spread from person to person through:
- direct contact with a person while they are infectious
- contact with droplets when a person with a confirmed infection coughs or sneezes
- touching objects or surfaces that were contaminated by droplets (like those from a cough or sneeze) from a person with a confirmed infection and then touching your mouth or face.
COVID-19 transmission is similar to that of the influenza virus and it is recommended that standard droplet and contact precautions are used when managing a resident with suspect COVID-19 infection.
All staff should practice good hygiene by:
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- covering coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or elbow
- washing hands for at least 20 seconds with water and soap and drying them thoroughly:
- before eating or handling food
- after using the toilet
- after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose
- after caring for sick people.
Supporting residents who have COVID-19
Only staff who will be in contact with the resident for more than 15 minutes and within 1 meter need to wear PPE. As a result, reception staff do not need to wear a face mask or any other PPE.
Hand hygiene is essential to prevent infection following contact with infectious secretions. In addition, PPE is recommended for primary care staff who cannot maintain at least 1 metre contact distance from people with COVID-19 symptoms. PPE includes gloves, gown, medical/surgical mask and eye protection. The wearing of PPE correctly, and the safe removal and disposal of PPE should also be adhered to.
It is also important for residents to practice good hand hygiene and to wear a face mask if they have respiratory symptoms.
The normal cleaning protocols are enough to prevent the spread of COVID-19. For information on cleaning guidelines, please see General Cleaning information.
Aged care providers who require further access to PPE supplies for suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 as above, please get in contact with your local district health board.
Visitors to aged-care facilities
Aged care providers should advise all visitors and staff to stay away from the facility if they are ill. If visitors have cold or flu symptoms, they should be symptom free for 48 hours before they visit.
Visitors should also stay away if they have been overseas or they have been in close contact with someone just arrived from overseas or confirmed with COVID-19 in the last 14 days. We ask they stay away for 14 days from their date of departure or close contact.
During visits, aged care providers should advise people to stay one meter apart.
Going to work
Aged care workers cannot go to work if they:
- have cold or flu symptoms. Aged care workers should be symptom free for 48 hours before returning to work.
- have been overseas recently or have been in close contact with someone confirmed with COVID-19 in the last 14 days. We ask that you self-isolate for 14 days from the date of departure or close contact
- Please register your details with Healthline if you have not already (call 0800 358 5453 or +64 9 358 5453 for international SIM).
If an aged care worker has been in or transited through other countries, they have to self isolate for 14 days from the date of arrival.
If you develop symptoms (listed below) within 14 days of being anywhere in a country or area of concern, or within 14 days of close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, you should phone Healthline on 0800 358 5453 or your doctor.
Self-isolation means staying away from situations where you could infect other people, including going to work. Find out more about self-isolation.
Cases in aged-care facilities
If one or more confirmed COVID-19 cases have occurred within a health care or aged-care facility, an outbreak management team should be convened, including a senior facility manager, an infection control practitioner and appropriate clinical staff, in consultation with PHU staff. For more information see Interim Advice for Health Professionals.
COVID-19 presents with mild respiratory symptoms, including a cough and fever but in some people it can be more severe and can lead to pneumonia or breathing difficulties. More severe infection mainly occurs in those with other co-morbidities.
See the case definition of COVID-19 for more information.
For the latest advice, information and resources, see COVID-19 page.
Call Healthline on 0800 358 5453. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
MSD Employer COVID-19 wage subsidy and leave payment information:
Key telephone numbers
- COVID-19 Healthline 0800 358 5453
- For general health issues, phone your doctor
- For emergencies dial 111.
- If you are feeling anxious or just need someone to talk to call or text 1737
- Elder Abuse Helpline 0800 32 668 65
- If you need to discuss your entitlements phone the MSD Senior Services line 0800 552 002
- If you’re not sure what assistance may be available, don’t know who to contact for help, call the free government helpline on 0800 779 997 (8am to 10pm, 7 days a week).
- For advice, support and general inquiries call 0800 22 66 57 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday and 8am to 5pm, Saturday to Sunday.
Please stay safe and keep up to date through the MOH website and follow their and DHB instructions only.