Dear Clients, Carers and Family Members,
At Alzheimer’s WA, the well-being and safety of our clients, staff and volunteers is our immediate priority and we wish to reassure you that we are well prepared for COVID-19. Partnering with the Department of Health, we have implemented a number of safe guards to minimise the risk of COVID-19 and are certainly mindful of the ongoing threat of Omicron and any new strains of the virus. Health and safety is paramount and we are working hard to continue to diligently enhance our protocols.
Our COVID-19 Emergency Response Team are engaged and are fully compliant with best practice protocols. All of our staff members have up to date vaccinations and have the latest training in IPC and PPE. We have implemented Rapid Antigen Tests for all our front line workers, prior to attending work for your safety and peace of mind.
We have assembled below a list of Frequently Asked Questions as together, we navigate the evolving situation. Please do contact us on 1800 66 77 88 should you have any questions, concerns or suggestions and one of our friendly team members will be pleased to assist you.
What impact will COVID-19 have on my services?
Due to the implementation of the Level 2 restrictions and the requirement of the 2 square metre rule, we will be imposing restrictions to some of our services but you will be notified of this by one of our friendly team members. If your service is affected, we will be in immediate contact. We will endeavour to offer alternative options to you and your friendly coordinator will continue to support you and discuss any services or changes in your plan with you.
How long does COVID-19 last? When will I recover? How long can you continue to test positive for COVID 19?
Most people with COVID-19 will have a mild illness and will recover in a few days. People are considered to be infectious from 48 hours before may occur. The infectious period varies from person to person. People with mild illness are generally considered to be recovered after 7 days if they have been asymptomatic or have not developed any new symptoms during this time.
What should I do if I am still testing positive for COVID-19?
There may be cases where you return a positive Covid-19 test although you have recovered. This is due to the fact that people with COVID-19 may have infected cells in their body. This is called ‘viral shedding’.
People who have no symptoms and have recovered don’t need to be retested within 12 weeks after leaving isolation. But if you have recovered from COVID and develop symptoms at least 12 weeks after your period of isolation, you must get tested.
What steps are AWA taking to ensure our safety?
We have a COVID-19 Emergency Response team (CERT) engaged and who meet regularly to ensure safety and compliance with DOH requirements. Our team members have all received infection control and PPE training. All staff have also received their vaccinations and specialist training in order for us to continue delivering services.
We hope that this gives you peace of mind of our unwavering commitment that when we provide you with our services or arrive at your home, we are doing so safely.
What if I get COVID-19, or my carer does?
Members of our team have gone through specialist training by our resident clinician and are able to continue providing essential services to those who may be isolating with suspected, or confirmed, COVID-19. This will be co-ordinates as usual, by our CERT COVID-19 emergency Project Lead.
What do you require me to do at this time?
We continue to encourage all clients to have their up to date vaccination status to ensure that we take all the reasonable precautions to protect you and your family and our staff providing services. AWA is dedicated to providing our usual services and we are taking a cautious approach while taking all necessary steps to keep you and our team members safe. We do appreciate your patience, as we may ask you for proof of vaccination. Please also note that we may request to change your service time should our staff members who provide the service be isolating.
We request that you advise us ahead of our service delivery of any symptoms eg. cold like symptoms, are not feeling well, or are a close contact, or been advised to be tested for COVID-19, so that we can work with you to provide the support you need in the safest way possible.
Will I be able to get the same support worker during this time?
We understand how important this is to you. We are doing all we can to provide you with your preferred support person and we understand that the need for you have for the same person, who brings familiarity who you can trust and this is the foundation of our person-centred approach to services. We do however request some flexibility and patience from you at this time. Please note that some of our staff members may also need time off too, to care for their loved ones and may be required time to isolate during these uncertain times and we appreciate your understanding and flexibility at this time.
Can I get COVID-19 again?
Yes. However, the level of protection you have can depend on factors like age and immunosuppression. Up to date vaccinations are the best way to protect yourself against reinfection. While the risk of catching COVID-19 again after recovering is lower, please note that reinfection is still possible.
What will happen to my services if I (or a household member) test positive or have been identified a close contact?
Your Care Coordinator will work with you to minimize impact and disruption on services which you consider are important and essential to your well-being.
I live with someone who is tested positive, should I get tested as well?
Yes, it’s a close contact and you need to follow the protocol.
Can I leave home to buy essential items after detecting COVID-19?
No, you should be isolating for next 7 days and until your symptom is clear.
Have there been any changes to access to Alzheimer’s respite houses?
Require COVID vaccination certificate to attend social support community groups and respite House. Temperature will be taken at the beginning of each service.
Who should I inform if I (or a household member test positive) or have been identified as a close contact?
Please advise your Care Coordinator as soon as possible prior to commencement of your next service.
Am I required to wear a mask when receiving service?
Yes. Unless you are an exemption.
If I am in isolation or quarantine, am I able to access RATs and PCR test from Alzheimer’s or my package?
Providers can use HCP funds to reimburse care recipients for RAT kits purchased by the care recipient where they are used to meet the person’s aged care needs, such as supporting delivery of aged care services. Where a care recipient requires RATs for personal use, most will be to access free RATs under the Government’s provision for concession card holders.
NDIS participants can purchase RATs with funding from their NDIS plan. Participants can use their core funding to purchase RATs where it is required to access their reasonable and necessary supports.
Our purpose is to partner with you on your dementia journey and we continue focus on our person-centred philosophy. We are taking the required steps to maximise your safety and the safety of our team members, while continuing to provide quality services. Your feedback is important to us, should you have any other questions, concerns or comments, please be in contact.
My sincere appreciation to you for your patience as we work together during these uncertain times and I thank you for your resilience. For those of you who may be isolating, we wish you a safe and full recovery.
We are here to support you during your journey and together we will ensure that no one faces dementia alone.