One of the terms that we have been hearing a lot lately is the term Social Distancing. So what is it and what does it mean for someone requiring care and support or for care workers?
According to the Australian Government Department of Health, Social Distancing is a way to slow the spread of infectious diseases. This means ceasing all non-essential travel, avoiding places where crowds are likely to congregate such as shopping centres, avoiding close contact with people and avoiding touching objects or surfaces that may be contaminated. The objective of social distancing is to reduce the probability of contact between persons carrying an infection and others who are not infected. The result being a drop in disease transmission.
But for those in the community who require care and support or are care workers themselves, how do you achieve social distancing when closeness is an integral part of your day?
To minimise the risk of virus transmission, we offer the following advice:
The most important thing to remember is if you feel unwell or have recently returned from oversease, under no circumstances accept or book a job.
Good hygiene is imperative. This includes the following:
- covering your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue
- disposing of tissues properly
- washing your hands often with soap and water, including before and after eating and after going to the toilet
- using alcohol-based hand sanitisers
- cleaning and disinfecting surfaces
- if you are sick, avoiding contact with others
- where possible, staying more than 1.5 metres away from people
Make sure you or your client has supplies on hand
- be sure you or your client has a good amount of their medications and medical supplies if you require them
- have enough groceries and household items on hand and consider arranging for home delivery of items and requesting for them to be left near your door to avoid unnecessary contact with delivery personnel.
Take extra precautions when cleaning
clean and disinfect your home to remove germs; practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, taps, sinks and mobile phones).
when cleaning, care workers should minimise the risk of infection by wearing gloves and using alcohol-based hand sanitiser before and after wearing gloves.
Have a plan for if you or your client gets sick
consult with your healthcare provider for more information about monitoring your health for symptoms of COVID-19.
stay in touch with others by phone or email. You may need to ask for health from family, friends, neighbours, etc if you become sick.
determine who can care for you if your care worker gets sick.
It is also important to remember that the effects of social distancing on mental health cannot be underestimated. Feelings of loneliness, isolation and the reduction in human interaction can take a toll. Remember to reach out to others by phone, facetime or text. The smallest gesture of contact can brighten someone's day. If you are feeling down about this stressful situation, help is available at Head to Health or Beyond Blue.
As always, we encourage the members of our community to look out for one another. Whether you are receiving or delivering care and support or have family members that need to self isolate please get in touch with our team with any questions or concerns. In the meantime, the best thing you can do for yourself is to keep your immunity strong, eat well and rest.