It’s understandable that you want to do all you can to protect your elderly loved one/s during the pandemic. It’s also understandable that you will have questions on the type of safety measures that have been implemented & recommended by the Department of Health.  

Read our blog ‘COVID-19 Aged Care Response Plan: A Snapshot’ to get more insight into the preventative steps taken so far by our Government within the aged care sector.

One such step towards keeping our senior Australians safe has been in the form of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE). According to the Department of Health, PPE has been applied as a preventative method and stops the spread of coronavirus. 

Whether you have elderly loved ones currently in care, about to enter care, or receiving care at home, we want to answer all your questions about PPE and its requirements.

Let’s start! 

What is PPE? 

PPE stands for Personal Protective Equipment. According to Safe Work Australia, PPE ‘refers to anything used or worn to minimise risk to workers’ health and safety.’ 

For coronavirus, PPE includes the following: 

  • Surgical masks 
  • Particulate filter respirators (such as P2 or N95) 
  • Disposable non-sterile gloves 
  • Protective eyewear such as a face shield, safety goggles or dedicated safety glasses. 
  • Long-sleeved gown or apron
PPE for coronavirus: Gown, P2/N95 respirator, Eye protection (face shield/goggles) & gloves.

How do I use PPE? 

The Department of Health has released a simple yet informative infographic on the exact step-by-step process of donning (putting on) and doffing (taking off) your personal protective equipment in accordance to the level of coronavirus exposure risk within aged care facilities.  

We have saved this infographic on our Resources page under ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19) – donning and doffing personal protective equipment’.  

Although PPE is mainly supplied and used by staff in frontline healthcare services, there are many preventative actions you can take during the pandemic. Read advice from the Department of Health on how you can help stop the spread here:

Where can I get PPE? 

Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACF): 

  • If you’re visiting your elderly loved ones, the RCAF will provide you with the appropriate PPE upon visitation.  
  • All visitors must wear a fitted face mask while visiting their elderly loved ones. A fitted face shield on its own is not sufficient.  
  • Staff are also required to wear (at a minimum) a level 1 or type 1 surgical mask while at work, and don extra measures of PPE where necessary. 
  • Your RACF is responsible for sourcing PPE through their usual supply chains. However, in recognition of national supply issues, the Government has developed a process to support aged care providers including RACFs to access PPE. 

Similar guidelines and requirements have been set in place for Home Care Providers. This is on top of standard precautions of infection prevention practices that must be adhered to at all times in health and care settings. 

The Government’s priority is to ensure staff in frontline health services likely to come into contact with people with COVID-19 have PPE. This includes:  

  • public hospitals 
  • general practices 
  • community pharmacies 
  • other settings where people are most likely to present with COVID-19 
  • aged care providers 

Seek further advice around your elderly loved ones’ safety and wellbeing within the aged care system during the pandemic. Reach out to our highly qualified and experienced Aged Care specialist and independent consultant Pauline Healy today.

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