Cara COVID-19 update on Friday, April 17

Apr 17, 2020 | News

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Cara’s Procurement team has been working hard to source Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as surgical masks, P2 masks (where customers use equipment to assist with breathing, such as nebuliser, C-PAP, BIPAP machines), gloves, gowns and eye protection. Demand for PPE has soared around the world and Cara has had some of our shipments requisitioned by the Australian Government.

However, we have now received limited stocks of PPE that will be distributed to customer homes and Cara’s regional offices ready for use. At the time of writing, the current Australian Government advice was that healthy people who have no symptoms of COVID-19 should not be using masks.

We are taking a careful approach to customer and staff health and safety. Cara’s processes indicate when PPE should be worn by our staff, and by customers who can safely tolerate wearing masks. This means that our staff and customers may be wearing PPE more frequently. Use of PPE does not mean there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 for a customer or staff member. It means we are taking a careful approach to prevent any cold and flu symptoms spreading.  If you hear from your loved one that staff and customers are wearing PPE, it is no cause for alarm.

Cara’s processes for a customer or staff member testing positive for COVID-19
Should a customer test positive for COVID-19, Cara has careful processes in place to isolate customers where possible, dependent on their living situation.

Staff who test positive for COVID-19 would be on sick leave, as would any staff who are not well (for example, staff sick with a common cold, flu or virus). We are also vigilant about other health conditions that may affect our customers, separate to COVID-19. Cara will contact you:

If there is a positive COVID-19 result within your household, or your loved one’s household and it directly affects them, we will contact you. We respect and follow government regulations relating to the privacy of other customers and staff, so we may not be able to tell you the identity of the person who has been infected.

We will also contact you should your loved one become unwell, as per our usual processes. Cara will not contact you: As the pandemic continues, we will not contact you about further confirmed cases within the Cara Community, unless it directly affects you or your loved one. Thank you for your understanding.  

Keeping the Cara Community safe – it’s the responsibility of everyone
We are privileged to work with our customers in their homes and it’s a responsibility we take very seriously. Cara also needs to ensure the safety of our staff at work in people’s homes. 

Where possible, please explore remote ways of connecting with your loved ones. Cara staff can support customers to stay in touch with video calls including FaceTime, Skype, Zoom or Facebook Messenger video calling. There are also phone calls and even letter writing. Personal connections are so important and we will do everything we can to support them. If you are a customer and you need to have a loved one in your house, or you need to visit a customer in their home, please play your part in keeping everyone safe.

  • Only visit in person if you are completely healthy.
  • If you must visit in person, please observe social distancing and keep at least 1.5 metres (two arms’ lengths) away from other people. Don’t encourage people to come close to you or to staff.
  • Do not hug, kiss, high-five or shake hands with people to say hello or goodbye.
  • If you live in a share house and you have a visitor, we ask that you spend the visit in an outdoor area alone if possible or in your bedroom with the door closed and a window open.
  • Please help model social distancing to other people. It can be confusing for some people with disability if they see other people not following the same guidelines as has been explained to them.
  • Please avoid touching furniture, fixtures etc in common areas where possible. Staff have stepped up cleaning and sanitising people’s homes, especially high-touch areas like door knobs, handles, taps etc, but the less contact we all have, the better

It’s important that we all follow these guidelines so we can all stay safe. Others in the community look to see what everyone else is doing. We all play a part in leading by example.  

Cara is paying for flu vaccinations for customers and staff
It has never been more important to get vaccinated against the flu. The Australian Government is urging everyone (aged six months and older) to get the flu vaccine as a simple, safe and effective way to protect yourself and others in your community against the flu. At Cara, protecting the health and safety of our customers and staff is our highest priority.

We recognise that many of our customers are particularly vulnerable to infection. For people who cannot safely receive a flu vaccine, it’s important for the people around them to get vaccinated and help provide what’s known as herd immunity.

While the flu vaccine does not protect against COVID-19, it helps reduce the risk of fighting the flu and COVID-19 at the same time, which could make you very ill. Cara is urging all of our staff and customers to join the immunity community and get a flu vaccination to reduce the spread of preventable diseases. We are so committed to preventing the spread of the flu, that we are funding the cost of a flu vaccination (up to the value of $30) for all of our customers and staff this year.

Where our customers are not eligible for a free vaccine under the 2020 Annual Influenza Program, Cara will fund the cost of flu vaccinations for our customers. (Not including the cost of your GP appointment should you be immunised at your doctor). You will shortly receive further information about how you can apply to be reimbursed.

In the meantime, if you have a flu vaccination booked, please hold on to a copy of your invoice/receipt and a copy of your immunisation certificate as we will need this to reimburse you.

Thank you for your time and ongoing support during these times. We are all in this together and I am so proud of the way our Cara Community of customers, staff and families is working together as a team.

Please remember to stay in touch with us with your up-to-date email address, the Cara website at www.cara.org.au and Cara’s Facebook page.  

Yours sincerely  
Liz Cohen 

COVID-19 vaccination update

COVID-19 vaccination update

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