Here's a summary of our questions and Nick's responses:
Does Respect have enough PPE gear and, if so, why have some employees been told they can’t have it when they've asked for it on certain occasions?
"We do have a good supply of PPE as an organisation and will distribute this as necessary. It has been common for some staff to request PPE (such as gowns and masks) to wear in their daily ordinary duties. These requests have been denied and information has been given as to why in all cases. We have to date provided PPE as is recommended. A good example would be where a resident is quarantined due to having cold or flu-like symptoms."
Recently a resident was isolated while waiting on COVID-19 test results. Staff are concerned with the process for caring for that resident, with staff told not to leave their post outside the resident’s door for their entire shift, therefore not having any breaks, and they were to use the resident’s bathroom if they had to go to the toilet themselves. Can you explain the process and can a better process be put in place in future?
"Lia had put in place the organisation's action plan for a suspected covid-19 case. This is the first time that the action plan had been put into action. I have passed on your feedback to our clinical team who will now review the action plan.
In relation to the meal break concern, each staff member was provided with their meal break entitlements. They were, however, not able to enter the staff room or other common areas due to infection control. This was explained to each individual when being asked to complete this task. It is also important to note that the staff member was not required to complete work between times when assisting the one resident. For example, one staff member watched Netflix and another completed study, etc. Whilst I would argue that each employee had more breaks than actually entitled, I understand they were not able to leave the area. With that being said, it is my understanding that the action plan has already been updated to allow a process for an employee to go outside for their breaks. They will still not be able to enter the staff room or other common areas.
In relation to the toilet concern, I will pass on this concern to our clinical management team to see if there is an alternative to using the resident's toilet."
HACSU has raised issues in the past with staff at Bluegum feeling unsafe on their own from 9pm till 7am when the unit is at full capacity, particularly when some residents have behaviours that can escalate quickly. We're aware staff have been told they can call someone off the floor, but those on the floor are busy too, particularly given there are several residents who require two staff to attend to them. Can another staff member be put on at Bluegum?
"I know this issue has been raised prior and we have put strategies in place to deal with the raised concerns. Since Lia has commenced as General Manager she has also been monitoring staff in this area and has been provided with positive feedback. It is not plausible to have two staff in the area on night shift. There are only 15 residents in this area and one PCA is sufficient in relation to the workload, even with consideration of current care needs.
In terms of safety, whilst a staff member is allocated to the secure unit, they are not expected to complete work in isolation of other staff. No individual employee is expected to complete two-person assists. Upon needing another staff member, they simply only need to call. Other staff located in other parts of the facility also work in isolation and are required to follow the same process."
Nick also said that if staff want to, they can arrange to meet with management to address their individual concerns.