COVID-19

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

January 28, 2022

We want to assure you that Blue Care is here to support you through COVID-19. Your health and safety is our number one priority.

We’re here to help you continue receiving the vital services you need so you can remain safe and well. As the public health situation continues to develop, it is incredibly important we do what we know is best to protect our clients and support our staff to help them remain safe.

To continue providing a high-level of support and care in a safe environment, Blue Care has practices and conditions in place, including (but not limited to) the below.

Mandatory vaccinations for staff

UnitingCare’s vaccination policy, which includes Blue Care, requires all our people to be double vaccinated for COVID-19. Any services and support supplied by UnitingCare will be facilitated by people who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 – providing you and your families with the assurance that we are doing everything we can to keep a safe and healthy environment.

COVID-safe procedures and practices

Vaccination is just one way we are helping to keep you safe. Blue Care staff are also required to adhere to stringent measures when visiting your home. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Maintaining physical distancing of (1.5m) where appropriate.
  • Wearing a mask at all times.
  • Wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when visiting and providing care.
  • Maintaining good hand hygiene.
  • Immediate isolation and use of PCR / Rapid Antigen Testing for people who are exhibiting symptoms.

Please note that working restrictions for staff are dependent on individual cases.

For the past two years, we have continued to adapt to a rapidly changing situation to help keep you and your loved ones safe. We understand these are challenging times, but we are in this together and will continue to strive to do everything we can to keep you safe in accordance with Federal and State Government guidance and directions.

You can also phone the Federal Government’s National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080 for more information about COVID-19 and vaccines.

Following are some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to support you through this challenging time.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who can I talk to if I am feeling concerned or worried?

    • Your family, friends and your Blue Care team are here to help. Your personal support network is there for you during this time of uncertainty.
    • You can also speak to your GP or medical team if you are having concerns or have any questions about COVID-19 symptoms or the COVID-19 vaccines.
    • You can access 24-hour crisis support through Lifeline by calling 13 11 14.
  • Can Blue Care help if I’m feeling lonely?

    Blue Care is here to help you and will continue to offer you support if you are feeling isolated or lonely during this time. It is important that you let your carer know how you are feeling. While you may be physically distancing from family and friends, there are plenty of ways to keep in touch. FaceTime calls, telephone calls, text messages and emails are all easy ways to keep in contact with your family and friends.

  • The advice is to practise ‘physical distancing’‚ but what does this mean?

    Physical distancing means having less contact between you and other people and staying 1.5m away from other people where possible when outdoors, and 2m when indoors.

    Here are some things you can do:

    • Keep a reasonable distance from others whenever possible. This means staying 1.5m away from others in public or meeting situations.
    • Avoid contact with others for long periods where possible.
    • Avoid kissing, hugging or shaking hands.

    The advice from the Australian Government is you may wish to limit your visitor numbers and limit how long your visitors stay.

  • How will Blue Care workers ensure they are practising physical distancing?

    All of our staff are protecting themselves and you by using good hygiene measures and practising physical distancing where appropriate. Our staff are following the same measures we have given to you and they are doing so because they care about keeping you safe, as well as looking after themselves.

    While in your home, staff have been advised to stay inside your home or garden as much as possible and if they are accompanying you on a visit outside of the home, they need to ensure they are adhering to good hygiene and physical distancing practices.

  • Are Blue Care staff members fully vaccinated?

    Yes. UnitingCare’s vaccination policy requires all our people to be double vaccinated against COVID-19. This means that any services and support supplied by UnitingCare will be facilitated by people who are double vaccinated for COVID-19 – providing you and your families with the assurance that we are doing everything we can to keep a safe and healthy environment.

  • How can I be sure the staff member visiting me is well?

    The health and safety of our people delivering critical community services is our number one priority. In accordance with UnitingCare policy, all Blue Care staff must be fully vaccinated. This ensures our staff can support and care for you in a safe environment.

    All Blue Care staff have been advised not to come to work if any of the following applies to them:

    • If they are unwell but do not have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 infection (cold and flu symptoms). Instead, they are to contact their GP for assessment, and notify their manager of their advice.
    • If they have been in close contact with someone who has been confirmed to have COVID-19 they are required to isolate for seven days from time of contact and therefore cannot come to work.
    • If they have returned from overseas they must self-isolate at home for 14 days from their date of arrival back into Australia.
  • Should staff be wearing a mask?

    From Sunday, January 2, 2022, Queensland Health announced that a mask must be worn indoors everywhere in Queensland. This means all Blue Care staff are required to wear a surgical mask when providing health care.

    In line with recent Queensland Health requirements, the majority of Blue Care staff will be wearing an increased level of personal protection equipment (PPE) which may include gloves, surgical mask, face shield and plastic apron.

  • What can I do to look after my health?

    We would encourage you to continue to receive Blue Care services to help you stay safe and well. Good hygiene and taking care when interacting with other people are the best defences for you and your family against COVID-19. This includes:

    • Covering your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue.
    • Disposing of tissues immediately after they are used, into a dedicated waste bin and washing your hands often with soap and water, including before and after eating and after going to the toilet, and when you have been out to shops or other places.
    • Using alcohol-based hand sanitisers, where available.
    • Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces you have touched.
    • Where possible, staying 1.5m away from other people.
    • If you are sick, avoiding contact with others.

    You should also consider limiting physical contact with other people, especially young children, and avoiding large groups of people. This will help protect you and help limit the spread of disease.

  • Can I go to the shops or regular doctor’s appointments, or should I stay in my own home?

    All Australians are being asked to practise physical distancing, which means staying 1.5m away from other people where possible. People diagnosed with, or exposed to, COVID-19 and those returning from overseas are required to self-isolate in their homes. Furthermore, close contacts of a diagnosed COVID-positive person must now isolate for seven days from the date they last had contact with the diagnosed person and immediately get tested. For more information, please visit health.qld.gov.au.

  • What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

    The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to colds and flus and can include:

    • Fever.
    • Sore or scratchy throat.
    • Cough.
    • Shortness of breath.
    • Fatigue.
    • Severe headache.
  • What should I do if I think I have COVID-19?

    If you develop mild symptoms of COVID-19:

    • Call a doctor and tell them about your symptoms and whether you have had contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • You can also attend a COVID-19 clinic in your area or call the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080.
    • You can call the QLD COVID-19 helpline via 134 COVID (134 268).

    Call 000 if your symptoms get worse and you are concerned for your health.

    If you are able to safely source one, a Rapid Antigen Test is a great way to check if you have COVID-19.

    We also need you to call your local Blue Care office to inform them that you are potentially unwell so that our staff who visit you can take necessary precautions.

    Older people aged 70+ (or 50+ for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people) or people with chronic conditions can seek medical support from their GPs through bulk-billed telehealth (video-link) and telephone services. Examples of possible video applications include FaceTime and Skype. Medical practitioners must be satisfied that the services they use to video link with their patients meet current standards and laws regarding privacy and information security.

  • Can I see my family or can my family come to visit me?

    We recognise that these times may be stressful for you and your loved ones. A chat over the phone, video call or email – rather than visits in person – may help you continue to feel connected to those around you.

    Please note that as of December 17, 2021, unvaccinated people are not permitted to visit vulnerable settings like an aged care home or hospital.

  • What other ways can I protect myself from COVID-19?

    Vaccination is still the best way to keep yourself safe from COVID-19, along with good hand hygiene, wearing of masks when in indoor settings and ensuring you are social distancing.

    Having two doses of the COVID-19 vaccination is important, and if the second dose was administered between four and six months ago, it is a great idea to book in today for your booster shot. For more information about the COVID-19 vaccination, visit https://www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19/protect-yourself-others/covid-19-vaccine

  • I’ve heard reports of getting a COVID-19 Ready Kit together, what should be included?

    You may have heard reports by the Queensland Government and media about getting a COVID-19 kit ready. Some items that are good to have on hand are:

    • A thermometer.
    • Pain relief such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.
    • Your regular medications.
    • Hydration tablets such as Hydralyte.
    • Masks, hand sanitiser and gloves.
    • Phone numbers for people outside your home you can call for help.
    • Stay-at-home activities such as puzzles, games, videos, movies, TV streaming.
    • Rapid Antigen Tests – if you can safely source some.

    For more information about COVID-19 Ready Kits and some important phone numbers, visit the QLD Health website.

    You can ask your Blue Care team to help you get this arranged at your next visit.

  • How can I get help with groceries, medication, etc.?

    The Queensland Government has reinstated the Care Army. If you need assistance getting food or other supplies, you can call your Care Army on 1800 173 349 for assistance.

    Many GPs offer telehealth appointments and can send your prescriptions directly through to the pharmacy. Some pharmacies also offer a delivery service.

    You may also be able to arrange for a trusted family member or neighbour to pick up your medications for you. For more information about this service, please call your local pharmacy and ask them about arranging this.

    If you are over 65 years, or over 50 years for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and need emergency support you may be able to access:

    • Home delivery of prepared meals, food staples and essential daily items.
    • Priority grocery shopping by ordering via phone or online.
    • Access to Meals on Wheels meal deliveries.

    Call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 to see if you are eligible and can arrange the above services.

    For more information, visit the Australian Governments health website.

    Trusted family, friends and neighbours may also be able to assist with picking up medication (with approval from the pharmacist), as well as shopping and meal deliveries.

  • Where can I find more information?

    Please continue to refer directly to the Queensland Health and the Australian Department of Health websites for the most up-to-date information and public health advice on Coronavirus. You can also call your local Blue Care service for assistance.

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