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The devastating outbreaks of COVID-19 in aged care facilities in Sydney and Melbourne have raised important questions about infection control preparedness and training.
Aged care facilities have always taken infection control seriously. Outbreaks of illnesses such as gastroenteritis or influenza have for decades been controlled with strict hygiene protocols and visitor lockdowns.
However, COVID-19 has presented us with a whole new challenge, one that Australia should have been prepared for as we witnessed the disastrous effects of the novel coronavirus on the aged communities of the United States and Europe.
Yet, infection control standards in aged care facilities have failed us in many circumstances, due in part to lack of appropriate PPE, and, as heard by the Select Committee on COVID-19, a distinct lack of training.
As a result, COVID-19 has been able to infiltrate aged care homes with dire consequences.
Less than half aged care workforce completed government’s infection control training
When COVID-19 first struck, the government responded with an online training course that addressed the fundamentals of infection control.
However, a recent senate inquiry heard that less than half of the aged care workforce have completed the government’s online infection control training.
And it seems the workforce itself, doesn’t feel it is prepared.
Vative Healthcare CEO, Carmie Walker, says as many as two-thirds of the aged care workforce say they haven’t been given the appropriate training.
COVID-19 specific infection control training urgently needed
There is an urgent need for further infection control training in aged care facilities, training that is specific to the highly contagious nature of COVID-19, and that appropriately addresses the dangers the disease poses to older people.
Training organisation Vative Healthcare, has drawn on its team of educators, many of them highly experienced nurses, to offer quality, COVID-specific online infection control training.
The four-hour webinar has been tailored for the aged care workforce and allows for an interactive, group experience.
This webinar is specifically designed for all healthcare workers in aged care, from carers to nurses, to cleaners to kitchen food-handlers, to managers, to community workers, who work with or enter a client or older person’s home during COVID -19. The webinar is aligned with the National Skills Framework.
The topics covered include:
- infection control
- management of the deteriorating person
- understanding what the COVID -19 virus is and how to manage it
- self-care precautions, and
- casual and close contact
“This accredited training really solidifies learning in the workplace for the people who really need it, the aged care workforce,” said Ms Walker.
Providers nationwide should be preparing for COVID-19
Though Victoria is feeling the brunt of the crisis at the moment, aged care providers in other states should also be on alert, doing all they can to ensure they are prepared to do battle with COVID-19 in the unfortunate event that outbreaks occur elsewhere in the nation. Specific COVID-19 training is a keyway to ensure preparedness for all.
“It’s of grave concern when you look at the numbers of infections we’re getting and the deaths we’re seeing, then the stories that are emerging, which suggest that our care-workers are really not 100% sure what they are doing on a day-to-day basis. That’s what we have to stop and change ” Ms Walker said.
“We have to get this knowledge for specific COVID-19 training out there.”
For more details visit Vative Healthcare