PURPOSE AND SCOPE
This policy and procedure seeks to ensure that Building Blocks Therapy minimizes the risk of the spread of infectious diseases in its work environments.
This policy and procedure applies to the Director, and all additional staff, students, contractors and volunteers.
This policy and procedure will be monitored and reviewed annually by the Director and Practice Manager.
Building Blocks Therapy will stay informed of any updates or developments of the Coronavirus and its presence in Australia and keep staff informed.
Infectious diseases – also known as communicable diseases; caused by micro-organisms or “germs” including viruses, bacteria, protozoa or fungi. These micro-organisms are able to invade and
reproduce in the human body, and then cause harmful effects. In healthcare settings, the main modes for transmission of infectious agents are contact (including bloodborne), droplet and airborne.
These germs are too small to see with the naked eye, but they can survive in the air, on the surface of the skin, in body fluids and on objects such as toys and door handles. The length of time that germs can survive depends on the type of germ and the surface or substance that may be contaminated.
Building Blocks Therapy takes work health and safety seriously and that includes safeguarding clients, staff and stakeholders from potential infections.
Building Blocks Therapy plays a role in the prevention and control of transmission of infectious diseases by
- abiding by legislated requirements for therapy exclusion and infection disease notification
- supporting the personal hygiene routines of individuals on premise
- ensuring procedures are in place to safely manage the handling’s go spills of blood and other body fluids or substances.
Note: Primary responsibility for the prevention and control of infectious diseases lies with individuals, families and public health authorities. Building Blocks Therapy is not expected to provide expert advice or treat clients which is the role of medical practitioners and health authorities as appropriate.
Standard precautions are the work practices required to achieve a basic level of infection prevention and control. The use of standard precautions aims to minimise, and where possible, eliminate the risk of transmission of infection.
Staff, students and volunteers will practice standard precautions in service delivery, where required, and particularly where the risk of transmitting infection is elevated.
All staff will be briefed and educated on the symptoms of infectious diseases, what to look out for and what to report. The Director of Building Blocks Therapy will be the person all concerns will be reported to.
In the Victorian health care system, standard precautions comprise the following measures.
- Hand hygiene
- Sanitiser Location:
- Each therapist’s bag
- Reception desk
- All individuals should wash their hands
- Before and after a session
- Before and after handling food
- After cleaning
- After removing gloves
- After going to the toilet
- After giving first aid
- Sanitiser Location:
- Hand hygiene is considered one of the most important infection control measures for reducing the spread of infection. Hand hygiene is a general term that refers to any action of hand cleansing, such as handwashing or handrubbing.
Microorganisms are either present on hands most of the time (resident flora) or acquired during healthcare activities (transient flora). The aim of hand hygiene is to reduce the number of microorganisms on your hands, particularly transient flora which may present the greater risk for infection transmission.
Handwashing: Hands should be washed with soap and water.
Handrubbing: Handrubbing with an alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR) is the preferred method for hand cleansing in the healthcare setting.
- Routine environmental cleaning;
- Cleaning: Surfaces and Facilities.
Surfaces should be cleaned on a regular basis using only cleaning procedures that minimize dispersal of micro-organisms into the air.
Routine surface cleaning should be undertaken as follows:
- clean and dry work surfaces before and after usage or when visibly soiled;
- spills should be dealt with immediately;
- daily cleaning should include those items that are potentially contaminated, such as toys that have been placed in children’s mouths. These items should be removed from the play area and returned after they have been properly cleaned.
- 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.
Floors should be cleaned daily or as necessary with a vacuum cleaner. Alternatively, damp dusting or cleaning with a dust-retaining mop is acceptable.
Toilets, sinks, washbasins, baths, shower areas, and surrounding areas should be cleaned regularly or as required. Cleaning methods for these items should avoid generation of aerosols.
Staff must wear suitable gloves and other protective clothing appropriate for the task. Protective eyewear must be worn where splashing is likely to occur.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Personal protective equipment (PPE) is another way of ensuring vulnerable children/families are protected. It includes mask, shields and gloves.
- Here at Building Blocks Therapy staff and families are not required to use PPE for therapy sessions unless specified by the government as a requirement. However, both gloves, shields and masks are available at our clinic and staff can wear them should this make them feel more comfortable in delivering a service to a vulnerable chid/family.
- Families also have the right to request that their therapist wear PPE.
- Respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette
Person-centred approach to Infection Control
A person-centred approach to providing support includes putting clients at the center of infection prevention and control and enabling them to participate in their care process.
To support a two-way approach to infection prevention and control and encourage client participation, the organisation will:
- Familiarise clients with its infection prevention and control strategies;
- Educate clients about the symptoms of the coronavirus (covid-19), so they are aware;
- Require clients to disclose if they have travelled to other countries
- Provide opportunities for clients to identify and communicate risks and encourage them to use feedback procedures through the service’s feedback, compliments and complaints processes;
- Provide educational materials about infection prevention and control using a variety of media (e.g. posters, printed material, educational videos) in a variety of accessible formats;
- Inform clients about the protocols for protecting their privacy and confidentiality.
- Encourage any clients displaying symptoms of an infectious disease, like the coronavirus (covid-19), to seek medical attention and stay at home.
Positive obligations of employees
Employees have a positive obligation to notify the appropriate responsible person if they are experiencing symptoms of an infectious disease, including, but not limited to, the flu and coronavirus (covid-19), or if they have come into contact with a person who has contracted an infectious disease, like the coronavirus (covid-19).
Any employee with any infectious disease, including the coronavirus, is required to stay away from the workplace until such time they are cleared by a doctor.
Specifically, in regard to an employee who has contracted the coronavirus (covid-19) or has come into contact with a person who has contracted the coronavirus, they must be sent home for at least 14 days and provide clearance from a doctor before returning to work.
A medical certificate is required to be presented with the employee’s timesheet for payment of sick days.
- Working from home
- Were appropriate, if an employee has contracted an infectious disease, like the coronavirus, but their symptoms are mild and they are still able to work, the employee may be provided the option to work from home.
Employees should report to the appropriate responsible person (Director or Management Team) any information relevant to protecting other employees and clients from contracting an infectious disease, like the coronavirus.
This would include reporting if an employee overheard that another employee had symptoms or had recently had symptoms or came in contact with someone having symptoms of an infectious disease, like the coronavirus, or travelled to the abovementioned high risk countries, but still working.
Notifiable diseases are diseases that must be reported to the Health Department by health practitioners. Any staff member that has a notifiable disease must not attend work until such time as they are cleared by their doctor.