We understand that this may be a confusing time for everyone with so much information about Covid-19. As our frontline heroes in the battle to protect the vulnerable and prevent the spread of infection, it is important that Comfort Keepers’ staff are informed and aware of how to keep themselves safe. We’ve collected some of the most frequently asked questions to provide clarity on a series of different situations that may arise. This list will be updated as the emergency evolves.
We want to thank you for the tireless, vital work you do. It is truly making a difference in our communities in these difficult times. We are ensuring that hospital beds are been freed up for those who will require acute hospital care in the coming weeks. We are keeping current clients well at home and supporting them thus avoiding acute hospital admission. We will see many new clients become part of the CK family in the coming weeks as we support our health system in the emergency management of this pandemic.
As the HSE has said to us all – your country needs you. We are at the frontline of this and you should be very proud of what you do. We are, your clients are, your families are, and your country is.
Frequently Asked Questions (1-20)
Over the coming weeks and months, our community care needs will change significantly. As An Taoiseach said, this is “the calm before the storm”. The public health team are working around the clock on a plan to support our community health system.
Clients are being discharged into the community that will need your help. As we know from the calls we have been receiving you are willing to help and want to work and we want to assure you that there is and will be plenty of work.
As you are aware from previous weather alert contingency planning, clients who were risk assessed and deemed able to manage without care did go without care, the same will apply now. The HSE have asked us to activate this contingency plan again as they need our support to move our care teams from our low dependency care client who may manage during this period to free you up to support those clients who would not be able to manage without care during this period.
Social Distancing only applies in social situations such as shops, cinemas, restaurants etc. Social Distancing must be applied differently in healthcare to ensure the safe delivery of care to our clients. It’s super important to follow infection prevention measures at all times, wearing gloves and apron while doing any personal care tasks. Our care delivery in this emergency period will be more focused on task-based duties with a priority on personal care tasks to minimize time with clients.
People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets.
If you’re experiencing symptoms, contact public health or GP and your local CK office. When calling public health please inform them of your profession, which will help expedite your testing. If public health orders for you to be tested, you must remain in isolation until the test is returned. You may undergo a self-isolation period, instructed by the health professional. There is waiting lists for testing in some areas however priority will be given to you as a healthcare professional working on the frontline. During this period please keep in touch to inform us of your results.
If public health order you to self-isolate with or without testing, this is a medically certified isolation and you must self-isolate for the period outlined by public health. All certified isolation periods will be supported by your illness benefit.
Anyone undergoing medically certified self-isolation can receive Social Welfare Illness Benefit. All you have to do is contact your GP to get a medical cert and apply for the payments. Due to recent legislation, the payments will kick in from the first day of absence. Find out more about how to apply here.
If public health has assessed you as not being a risk and has not recommended self-isolation or a GP has not certified you, this would be considered as unauthorised leave. You would not be eligible for Illness Benefit. We play an incredibly important role to play in the healthcare system right now – our work helps keep the most vulnerable people safe in their home and frees up space in hospitals to deal with the demands of Covid-19.
Unless there is a public health authorised indication that they have Covid-19 or have been in close contact with someone with Covid-19, it is unlikely that they have Covid-19. If you have concerns, your local office is available to advise on those concerns. Check the symptoms if you are worried.
Please remember that your infection control and wearing your PPE as guided by the public health team will support safe delivery of care.
Firstly, you need to contact your office to let them know about the concerns for your client. We will ensure the concerns are passed onto the relevant family and HSE representative. We will keep in touch with you to advise of the appropriate next steps.
As part of the contact tracing public health will advise you on the appropriate next steps you must take. You will have the full support of the office in the management of this.
Call public health for advice and contact the office to let us know. If you are advised to, self-isolate please contact the office and together we will adhere to the self-isolation guidelines that have been given to you. DO NOT attend any clients until instructed by your office.
No. This is never permitted. This is a particularly dangerous thing to do during Covid-19 as it could be harmful to your vulnerable clients.
Absolutely, in this period of difficulty, it’s vital we have enough staff to support our healthcare system in the community. Our ‘Refer a Friend’ scheme is still running please see the t&cs below.
Yes, if you require extra PPE your office can arrange this. We will in some of our more dependent clients put a stock of PPE into their house for your safe use.
Public Health has not advised for advanced PPE equipment at this time. As you are aware there is a worldwide shortage of masks and we want to save this equipment for those that are infected.
The most effective ways to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 is to continue to frequently clean your hands, cover your cough with the bend of the elbow or tissue and maintain a distance of at least 2 meters from people who are coughing or sneezing.
Comfort Keepers offices are currently open and will remain open. In some circumstances, some core employees are remote working to reduced numbers in our offices and to keep that office staff well so they can support you.
The office is still contactable, and should you need PPE please ring the office and they will arrange to meet with you or arrange collection.
We are in constant contact with all our clients to reassure them and to look after their health and wellbeing. Where family are able to support, our care manager will risk assess this with them and will take the advice of the HSE on whether it is appropriate to cancel or reduce care.
While Covid-19 is a risk there are other risks to clients if we cancel care and we don’t want to heighten those risks for our clients unintentionally.
If a lockdown/shutdown is announced it would be advised by Public health in order to ensure all non-essential interactions and services stop operating. As Comfort Keepers is an essential service and part of the frontline response our services and care would continue.
Follow the advice that your GP gave you. Inform Public Health and provide us with any documentation both GP and Public Health outlining what they have advised. You will need to be deemed fit to work by your GP before returning to work. To apply for illness benefit check here.
During this emergency, the HSE have asked us to activate our contingency plan which is a similar process to that used during red weather alert warnings. Our support is needed now more than ever to move our care teams from low dependency care clients who may manage during this period to free up support for those clients who would not be able to manage without care.
We are in constant contact with all our clients to reassure them and to look after their health and wellbeing. Where family are able to support, our care manager will risk assess this with them and will take the advice of the HSE on whether it’s appropriate to cancel or reduce care.
While Covid-19 is a risk, there are other risks to clients if we cancel care and we don’t want to heighten those risks for our clients unintentionally.
This page will be updated with more frequently asked questions as the situation develops. Keep up to date with our dedicated Covid-19 page.