Should practitioners at Optimum Health and their NDIS clients be wearing Personal Protective equipment otherwise known as PPE during therapy sessions? This is the sort of question that we are faced with during these unprecedented times of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The answer is yes, if social distancing regulations are not able to be maintained. It is recommended by health experts that PPE are to be worn especially in parts of the community that are considered to be COVID-19 hot spots.
What is Personal Protective Equipment
PPE is defined as equipment that is helpful in keeping the person wearing the PPE and those in close contact with them safe from contracting or spreading infection. Face masks and gloves are readily available at all Optimum Health facilities to ensure client practitioner safety. Social distancing is not feasible when delivering certain therapy and not all of our NDIS clients are able to wear PPE due to various reasons.
WEARING A FACE MASK IS NOT ENOUGH
Wearing a face mask may protect you in the event that someone coughs (small droplets) and is infected with COVID-19 or if you are infected but do not have symptoms then wearing a face mask may help protect others. A face mask alone will not provide you with complete protection from COVID-19. Regularly washing your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or with soap and water, not touching your face, social distancing (1.5 meters from other people), staying at home when unwell, minimizing the touching of surfaces, and covering your mouth when coughing by coughing into your elbow are all important steps that each individual can take to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
AS AN NDIS PARTICIPANT
In Victoria and NSW, NDIS have made temporary changes to their funding guidelines for PPE for particular participants and providers. As a participant you are now able to recover the costs of purchasing PPE using your NDIS funds, if you:
- receive an average of at least one hour a day of face- to –face daily living supports, and
- live in Victoria or New South Wales.
If you need PPE items and their use is directly related to your face-to-face daily living supports, you can use your core supports budget to purchase these items.
If you need to buy PPE for use outside the home, this is still an everyday expense, and you cannot use your NDIS funds to pay for them.
Providers in these two states will be able to claim against the PPE support line item, when delivering face-to-face assistance with daily living supports. In order to claim, providers;
- must incur the expense and have provided the support workers with PPE
- must be delivering a support in the Assistance with daily life support category
- require agreement from the participant to use and charge for PPE.
(For more advice go to NDIS website or contact them)
Here at Optimum Health all our clinics are continuing to provide services with client/practitioner safety in mind during these difficult times. Regular cleaning and sanitization of surfaces is routinely done. Practitioners, where social distancing is not possible, wear PPE when delivering their service. All who attend the clinic are asked to sign in and their temperature is checked. Systems and procedures are in place so that clients are able to continue to access therapies that can help them to live their best life.
Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care – https://www.safetyandquality.gov.au/faqs-community-use-face-masks
Speech Pathology Australia – COVID-19 Update
National Disability Insurance Scheme – minister media release
Disclaimer: Statements of fact and opinion in the article above, The New Norm – wearing personal protective equipment, are those of the respective authors, researchers and case studies provided and not of the publishers of The New Norm – wearing personal protective equipment. The readers should make his or her own evaluation of the accuracy and appropriateness of findings before applying to themselves. Optimum Health Solutions cannot accept any legal responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions that may be made.