Today I have some important updates about working across multiple sites and for different employers – as well as the management of COVID-19 positive patients in Victoria – following new advice from the Department of Health.
Working at multiple workplaces
Restricting the movement of staff across healthcare, disability care and aged care is a key priority in reducing the risk of further spread of COVID-19. Under formal directions from the Acting Chief Health Officer, it is a requirement that staff do not work at more than one site, except where that is not practicable and/ or clinical need overrides this.
Western Health is closely following those directions. All staff who work for two or more employers must provide the details to Western Health (as well as their other employers) and also must keep records of their work locations. Any staff who work at more than one site/employer are required to declare if and where they have worked previously before beginning their shift. This is critically important for contract tracing, should it be required.
Any staff member who also works in a care facility that has recorded a positive COVID case, including Arcare Maidstone and BlueCross Western Gardens in Sunshine, is NOT allowed to work at Western Health unless it has been 14 days since you worked at the facility AND you had a confirmed negative COVID test at Day 10-13 (ideally at Day 13).
This is a priority.
Management and care of COVID-19 positive patients in Victoria
The Department of Health, in cooperation with Western Health and all health services, will this week implement an updated process for the streaming and treatment of COVID-19 positive patients.
Under this approach, confirmed COVID positive patients will be cared for in a limited number of health services.
Hotel quarantine residents, and people who are COVID-19 positive and require inpatient care, will be streamed to the following services:
- General High Acuity Services: Alfred Hospital, Box Hill Hospital, Royal Melbourne Hospital
- Specialist High Acuity Services: The Royal Children’s Hospital, The Royal Women’s Hospital, Monash Medical Centre Clayton (obstetric services)
- Lower Acuity Services (including for aged care residents): Epping Private Hospital, Latrobe Private Hospital
The above services will be responsible for treatment and care of confirmed COVID-19 patients and ALL residents of hotel quarantine. All low-risk and high-risk suspected COVID-19 patients outside of hotel quarantine will continue to be managed at their local health service, including Western Health.
Where clinically safe to do so, COVID-19 positive patients requiring hospital care will be transferred by Ambulance Victoria to one of the services above.
For low-risk and high-risk suspected COVID-19 patients being treated at one of our hospitals, if a COVID-19 positive result is received, the patient should be considered for transfer to one of the selected sites when it is clinically safe to do so. All decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with the infectious diseases team.
Please be reassured that patient safety will always be the top priority. For example, if a patient in the community has a time-critical illness, they will be transferred to the closest appropriate hospital.
Please see the bulletin below for today’s other COVID updates.
Thanks for reading.
Please continue to monitor the exposure sites. If you or a household contact have been at one of the Tier 1 exposure sites, please follow the directions on the Department of Health website regarding isolation and testing. Do NOT attend work and contact COVID Staff Enquiries at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Asymptomatic COVID testing for staff is being offered at our main sites this week:
- Footscray, private consulting rooms, reception area 2, 7.30am-4.30pm
- Sunshine Hospital COVID-19 Testing Clinic every day, 9am-6.30pm
- Williamstown Hospital, Emergency Department, 8am-12pm
PPE and face shields
A reminder that all staff working in clinical areas or for any patient encounters, must now wear eye protection. We strongly encourage face shields for eye protection, and we are specifically shifting towards reusable face shields (BOYE/BMG brand) which need to be cleaned with Clinell Green wipes after each shift or if visibly soiled. The reusable face shields need some basic assembly which will be included in the face shield. A QRG will be uploaded to the microsite today.
If staff are still using the single use face shields, please dispose of these at the end of every shift or if they are visibly soiled in the yellow bins on clinical areas. If staff can’t tolerate face shields, safety goggles are also an appropriate form of eye protection.
Staff will be able to order reusable face shields (specify ‘reusable’ in the order form) through the PPE team via email COVID-19PPE@wh.org.au or via phone Sunshine 0466 813 640 or Footscray/Williamstown 0481 006 197.
The current visitor restrictions mean that many patients are very socially isolated during inpatient admission. Social chats with family members are essential to support patient wellbeing, engagement and recovery.
Allied Health are currently implementing strategies for our isolated and vulnerable patients on most wards to help increase the access of families to their loved ones through virtual visiting via video or telephone call. Read the QRG here.
During this current short lockdown Allied Health are re-implementing strategies on most wards to help increase the access of families to their loved ones through virtual visiting via video or telephone call. Virtual visiting will only be available during this lockdown period for patients with significant vulnerability and isolation. Patients are allowed visitors for compassionate and caring reasons, as well as discharge planning.
Please direct questions regarding Virtual Visits to your local Allied Health lead (details have been sent to NUMs) or the Allied Health ASPIRE team at email@example.com or 0403 770 497, OR Matt Thorpe at Matthew.Thorpe@wh.org.au on 83451127 or 0466169841.
WCHRE room bookings
During the current COVID outbreak, the booking of rooms in the WCHRE building has been suspended.