The COVID-19 outbreak is a rapidly changing situation. This advice is correct as at 24 March 2020 but may change.
This document provides you with key information about Monash Health’s response to COVID-19. It is designed to help you support your team during this time. Please share these updates with your teams, discuss at stand-ups and handovers, and print a copy to display in communication books and on employee noticeboards. Previous copies should be removed.
A message from Andrew Stripp
As a Manager at Monash Health, you play an essential role in caring for our patients and employees every day, and I want to assure you that your safety is our priority.
Some employees have expressed concern about caring for patients with COVID-19, questioning if there is sufficient Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). We have worked very hard to ensure we have the necessary PPE at hand. We review this every day, including stock on hand, utilisation, projected utilisation and orders. There is additional training to ensure PPE is appropriately used. As a manager, we ask that you ensure your team members attend the training and that you have identified ‘PPE superusers’
Our mental and emotional well-being is also important. Our health service will experience a strain that many of your team may never have experienced before. Individuals may begin to feel the tension, and as managers, you may too. Please use the services and resources available to help you look after yourself, your team, and your loved ones.
Finally, there is so much information coming at us. It can be overwhelming, and much of what is on social media, in particular, is not correct and, at times, dangerous. My commitment to you is to provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information I can. I will share this through the CE COVID-19 Updates and on our Monash Health Employee Coronavirus Webpage. This is a rapidly changing crisis, so please make sure you and your team are aware of these credible information sources to ensure you are up to date.
If you have any questions or concerns, never hesitate to discuss these with your Manager, your People, and Culture representative, or you can call the Monash Health Employee Hotline.
Thank you. The work you do is deeply appreciated.
Monash Health has been preparing for the challenging times ahead for some months now. We know that to manage the crisis, we need to ensure our teams have the capacity for additional patients, and our employees are supported and protected. In this bulletin, we draw attention to the key issues to be across for your team.
We expect that there will be a need for changes to rosters to fulfil clinical demand and provide for leave for team members who may be unwell or need to self-isolate. Please follow the procedures for filling shifts and let your line manager know if you have any questions.
Please follow the existing procedure for filling shifts and/or covering employees who are on leave
Leave continues to be a key subject we receive questions about. We’ve summarised some of the latest information below:
- If you travel to any overseas destination against the current advice of the Australian Government, you must take personal leave for the 14-day isolation period on your return. Your leave can be paid or unpaid if you do not have enough paid leave or annual leave. You are not entitled to special leave.
- All employees returning from overseas are required to self-isolate for 14 days and must not attend work for 14 days after their return.
- If you were required to self-isolate due to travel before Monday 9 March access to paid special leave is available for 14 days while you remain asymptomatic, i.e., if you begin to show symptoms, you are required to be tested. If you test positive for COVID-19, you can access personal leave for the duration of the illness.
- If you test positive for COVID-19, you must access personal leave for the duration of the illness and until the risk of infection has passed. If you do not have enough personal leave to cover the period of absence, other paid and unpaid leave entitlements can be used (such as annual leave). Access to further paid special leave will be considered on a case by-case basis.
- All business-related travel is cancelled, and that previously approved is revoked
If your team have further queries related to leave you can discuss these with your People and Culture representative. Please refer to coronavirus.monashhealth.org for the latest information
Immunocompromised or pregnant employees
We are committed to the safety and support of our employees at all times. COVID-19 poses particular challenges for some employees who may fall into an ‘at risk’ category, including pregnant employees or employees who are immunocompromised. Please ensure your team knows to discuss concerns they may have for themselves with you.
Please refer to Appendix 14: Assessment and Management of Healthcare workers at risk of complications from COVID19 in the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Procedure available on PROMPT for specific guidance for immunocompromised employees.
To keep us all safe, we need to reduce the number of people coming into Monash Health. Monash Health is limiting the number and times visitors are permitted. We understand this may cause disappointment, but these measures are necessary to keep people safe.
Of course, exceptional circumstances may occur that require an exemption. Please use the latest information and your clinical judgement of what is best for the patients in your care.
Visitors should not attend if they:
- Are unwell, or
- have a fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath, or
- have travelled overseas in the past 14 days, or
- have been in contact with someone with COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
Unless otherwise indicated below:
- There is to be no more than one visitor per day, per patient.
- No children under 16 years of age
- Between hours of 10.00am to 8.00pm
Variations to this are as follows:
- Maternity – Limited to partner only at any time between 10.00am and 8.00pm only if well (and during delivery).
- Newborn- Parents only and at any time.
- Paediatrics – The patient’s parent/carer only can be with the child at all times.
- ICU (Adult and Paediatric) – Visit limited to 10 minutes per patient, with exceptions on a case-by-case basis.
- Residential Aged Care Recipients – Only on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, from 1.00pm to 5.00pm for up to one hour.
Restricting site access
- We will also be increasing restrictions to access to our sites. Over the next 24 hours, access to sites will now be through one point only. All other access points will be via swipe card. Additional signage and security are being arranged to accommodate this.
As announced by the Premier on Sunday, schools across Victoria have now closed for the school holidays. At some point soon, we expect there will be extended closures to schools and pre-school centres outside of designated school holiday periods.
This will affect a large number of our employees. Healthcare is perhaps the most critical industry at this time, and we want to try and minimise the impact on our health care workforce.
Most schools have offered provisions for children of essential services workers starting at the end of school holidays from the 15 April.
In the meantime, please talk to your team members, and gain advice from your People and Culture
Representatives if anyone on your team is affected by the school closures.
Encourage your team members to explore options of sharing care responsibilities. This may be with partners, family members or close friends who may be available or required to work from home, or are University students.
If they cannot attend work due to school or pre-school closures, and if appropriate to their role, explore working from home arrangements with your employees.
If working from home is not an option for them, and they cannot attend work, they can access personal leave which covers carers leave, annual leave or other forms of paid or unpaid leave.
In order to ensure a fair and equitable process, please ask them to be prepared to provide evidence to support their caring responsibilities and school closure.
Ask your team to access the most up-to-date leave entitlement information from the Monash Health COVID19 employee website.
Working from home
To help keep our employees, patients and community safe, this week, we will ask anyone who can work from home to do so. We know this may present challenges, so to help you and your team get the most out of working remotely from home, we have prepared a toolkit of resources which will be available in the next day or two at coronavirus.monashhealth.org.
Please ensure your team members have appropriate IT access and understand the communication channels available to them to keep in touch, including virtual meetings via Webex and your expectations around this.
Operations and clinical care
The 2019 Novel Coronavirus Procedure applies to all employees who care for a patient who is suspected of or has COVID-19; and when employees or patients have been potentially exposed to COVID-19. It is critical your team is familiar with it.
Please ensure your team is familiar with the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Procedure available on PROMPT.
Management of Infectious Diseases
Monash Health has well-established procedures in place to manage infectious diseases. Now more than ever, it is critical your team follow both existing and new COVID-19 specific procedures. If your team members require further information, please refer to PROMPT or access materials on LATTE.
Remind your team that they should rely on the principles of established procedures in PROMPT and refer to 2019 Novel Coronavirus Procedure available on PROMPT
Personal Protective Equipment
To stay safe, it is critical employees follow the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Application and Removal procedure to ensure the safe and correct use of clinical PPE.
PPE Super Users will be designated this week within your teams to support team members with correct PPE use. PPE Super Users will be nominated through consultation with Educators from the NaMES team and managers. If any of your team are interested in training others in PPE the process, they can discuss this with you prior to being nominated.
For further details, please download and read the Personal Protective Equipment procedure on PROMPT and share with your teams.
Please also encourage your team members to attend a PPE training session (offered daily).
Supply of essential stock
We want to reassure all employees that we have enough supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and that they will never be asked to attend to a patient without proper PPE. To ensure all our clinical areas and departments are appropriately stocked, we are implementing changes for the ordering and management of critical stock items to ensure it is not stockpiled in one area while others miss out.
COVID-19-specific Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has been agreed and pre-ordered in ample quantities to be available across all sites. There is no need to stockpile at the ward level as this introduces the risk of theft.
Hand sanitiser has become a critical stock item. We commonly use two products for hand sanitisation, which includes Avagard within clinical areas and Cutan across non-clinical areas. Please note that for daily use, Avagard is to be prioritised for clinical areas and will be managed accordingly.
To manage critical supplies and PPE, we will require authorisation from each DCO nominated by sites last week.
Discuss orders and authorisation of critical supplies with your nominated DCO below:
- Casey – Claire McDonald
- Dandenong – Zoe Devenish
- Kingston – Julie Galloway
- MMC Clayton – Marg Harley
- Moorabbin – Sue Liersch (Tracey Burke)
- Residential – Jakqui Barnfield
- Community – Helen Richards
Make sure you have accurate and current information
This is a rapidly changing situation. Ensure your team is familiar with the following sources of credible information:
- Monash Health employee website: coronavirus.monashhealth.org.au
- Department of Health and Human Services: www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus
- Monash Health employee COVID-19 hotline: 9594 5815
- 2019 Novel Coronavirus Procedure available on PROMPT
- Monash Health Library COVID-19 Resources Guide
Thank you for your ongoing leadership and commitment to the care of our community. Remember to take care of yourself and encourage your team members to do the same. Monash Health is here to support you while you focus on providing the best of care to our community.
Advice and information about COVID-19 are rapidly evolving. Please consult the latest updates and visit the Department of
Health and Human Services and Monash Health COVID-19 website for employees and read the CE Updates.