Our most frequently asked questions
We are closely monitoring Australian Government sources and the World Health Organisation (WHO) for the most up to date information and advice.
The following list has been complied to help you navigate these uncertain times. We are keeping this page up to date with relevant information and references to government websites.
1. What are my responsibilities?
When should staff not come to work?
All staff, whether or not they are in healthcare with patient contact, should not come to work if they:
- have a fever
- have a symptom, even a minor symptom, of respiratory illness, such as a cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny nose or nasal congestion
- Are awaiting results of a COVID-19 test
- Have tested positive to COVID-19
- Are deemed a close contact and required to self isolate to stop the spread of COVID-19
Be familiar with the Alliance Nursing Mandatory Notification Protocol.
Prevent the Spread
Practising good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene is the best defence against most viruses. You should:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, before and after eating, and after going to the bathroom.
- Cover your cough and sneeze with your elbow or a tissue. Dispose of tissues and wash your hands with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
- If unwell, seek medical advice and avoid contact with others (stay more than 1.5 metres from people).
- Stay informed – complete your further education and review current resources.
Keep us in the loop
Whilst we are reaching out to our clients and staff more than ever, so we can work with you to ensure proper precautions for everyone’s safety, we encourage you to let us know in the case of any of the following:
- If you are unwell in any way.
- If a family member or house guest is unwell or is isolating at home.
- If you or a house guest has had contact with COVID-19 or suspected COVID, whether they have symptoms or not.
- Concerns about your work.
Your Alliance Nursing branch is your first port of call with any feedback or concerns.
Be familiar with the Alliance Nursing Mandatory Notification Protocol.
2. What do I do if I don't feel safe or protected from COVID-19 where I am working?
Escalate your concerns with your Manager or Coordinator.
It is also useful to read the relevant Health Department fact sheets: https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/coronavirus-covid-19-resources
3. If I have been unwell and now not displaying symptoms, do I need a medical certificate to return to work?
Yes, you require a medical clearance to return to work. It gives all parties peace of mind.
4. What do I do if I feel like I am in a vulnerable situation, whereby someone I work with is displaying symptoms but refusing to go home or seek medical advice?
The first thing you should do is to have a respectful chat with your work colleague to express your concerns.
If you remain concerned following your conversation, discuss these concerns with the Coordinator or Manager.
The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to other colds and flus and include:
- Sore throat
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of smell and taste
While COVID-19 is a concern, it is important to remember that most people displaying these symptoms could be suffering with a cold or other respiratory illness – not necessarily COVID-19.
Always maintain good personal and environmental hygiene, hand washing practice and physical distancing.
5. If the doctors believe I meet the criteria of COVID-19 symptoms, is a test compulsory?
If the medical officer assesses the person to have symptoms and characteristics that aligned to COVID-19, they will be tested. Without patient consent, a doctor cannot generally perform testing.
However, if a doctor is concerned about a patient who has refused testing, they will contact the public health unit for advice. There are powers under state and territory-based legislation to compel testing in certain circumstances and the Public Health Unit has further powers to compel.
If you test positive to COVID-19, the Public Health Unit may review and access your close contacts and provide advice in relation to your medical care and isolation requirements.
6. What is PPE and how should I be wearing a face mask?
PPE = Personal Protective Equipment
PPE is stands for personal protective equipment. The appropriate personal protective equipment is prescribed based on a risk assessment of your work tasks and the existing client site protocols.
When caring for care recipients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, health care workers are required to wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) which may include masks, gloves, eye shields and/or gowns, to protect themselves from infectious illnesses and help stop the spread of disease.
The PPE required will depend on the type of interaction and the health status of the care recipient.
Risk assessments are conducted to ensure all PPE, including masks are appropriate to your requirements and as per Government Health Guideline recommendations.
Should our support workers be wearing masks at work?
Risk assessments are conducted to ensure PPE protocols are as per Government Health Guidelines.
Under current guidelines, healthcare workers should wear masks if they have close contact with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19.
Healthcare workers are not otherwise required to wear a mask unless there is a medical reason for doing so.
Refer to: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-resources-for-health-professionals-including-aged-care-providers-pathology-providers-and-health-care-managers#personal-protective-equipment-ppe-for-the-health-workforce
7. Where is my closest COVID-19 testing clinic?
Each state Department of Health has dedicated COVID-19 testing resources.
If you are having a medical emergency, please call 000.
GP respiratory clinics around the country to clinically assess people with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms (a fever, cough, shortness of breath, a sore throat and/or tiredness).
Find out below if there is a GP respiratory clinic in your state/territory and near your area and how to register for an appointment:
- Australian Capital Territory
- New South Wales
- Northern Territory
- South Australia
- Western Australia
Fever clinics operated by public hospitals are generally staffed by nurses. They are not the same as a GP respiratory clinic but they also help to reduce pressure on emergency departments and other services.
You can either access these through calling the National Coronavirus Help Line on 1800 020 080 or by their respective state depart of health website.
8. What is the advice about travelling?
Alliance Nursing has an obligation to staff, clients, patients & participants to ensure the safety of all concerned and will continue to monitor and update guidelines and processes based on the health departments recommendations.
As your employer, we request that we are kept informed of any change in your status and your progress as per the Alliance Nursing Notification Protocol.
Smartraveller: coronavirus information for Australia travellers, and current travel advice.
Department of Home Affairs: https://covid19.homeaffairs.gov.au/
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission: coronavirus information for consumers about travel changes, event cancellations, and price increases
If you believe, your circumstances are within the criteria above or if you wish to speak to someone regarding your personal circumstances, please contact your Alliance Nursing Coordinator or Manager IMMEDIATELY.
9. How are you looking after my Mental Health and Wellbeing?
Whilst we are reaching out to our clients and staff more than ever, we encourage you to let us know directly if you have any concerns. Alternatively these resources are available:
Check out our Wellbeing Hub: a range of additional resources to support the health and emotional wellbeing of our employees.
Speak to your Coordinator or Manager about our Employee Assistance Program
General advice for looking after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak:
The Federal Government’s Head to Health website can help you find the right digital health resources for your needs. This includes resources on how to support children and others: https://headtohealth.gov.au/
Beyond Blue also have a page dedicated to looking after your mental health during this time: https://coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au/
10. When can I get vaccinated?
Australia’s COVID-19 vaccines will become available in phases. Refer to the Australian Department of Heath website to find out more: https://www.health.gov.au/initiatives-and-programs/covid-19-vaccines.