The Commission has developed a range of resources, and provides advice, for Australian health services, healthcare professionals and consumers on how to reduce the risk of Coronavirus (COVID-19) exposure and infection.
The Commission supports all healthcare professionals in continuing to provide safe, high quality care during the pandemic, with advice on infection prevention and control, risk assessment and management, managing medications and caring for people with cognitive impairment.
PPE guidance for aged care workers
Use of P2/N95 respirator masks to care for aged care home residents with suspected, probable or confirmed COVID-19 should be implemented as advised by local/jurisdictional guidance, in the context of the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) in areas with significant community transmission of COVID-19. The Infection Control Expert Group has provided guidance regarding use of P2/N95 masks and protective eye wear/face shields in these circumstances.
This poster includes step-by-step instructions for aged care workers regarding how to put on and remove personal protective equipment (including gowns, P2/N95 respirator masks, eyewear and gloves) when they are caring for residents with COVID-19. It also includes instructions on how to fit check P2/N95 respirator masks.
Infection prevention and control risk assessment
As the risk of COVID-19 in Australia continues, health service organisations are required to prepare and implement an organisation-wide Risk Management Plan to manage and reduce the risks related to the transmission of COVID-19.
The Commission has developed a fact sheet to support health service organisations in assessing risks related to COVID-19 and developing a comprehensive Risk Management Plan.
Infection prevention and control, and PPE
The following information outlines infection prevention and control measures which aim to minimise the risk of exposure to COVID-19, transmission and infection.
Healthcare workers and health service organisations should follow the recommendations of the Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare, and directions and advice from their state and territory health departments.
The Commission has also produced new resources to support infection prevention and control during the pandemic, and illustrate the appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE) in different clinical situations.
These PPE posters complement the general infection prevention and control signage.
Environmental cleaning is a critical element of standard precautions, and support for health service organisations in meeting their environmental cleaning requirements is available below.
Regular and thorough hand hygiene is an extremely important measure to prevent COVID-19 infection in the community, and in healthcare settings.
Regularly wash your hands well with plain soap (or hand-wash or body-wash) and water, and dry thoroughly.
If you are not able to wash your hands, use an alcohol-based hand rub/sanitiser containing 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol. Non-alcohol based hand rubs are not recommended, as there is limited evidence available to support their effectiveness in reducing bacteria and viruses.
In the healthcare setting, refer to National Hand Hygiene Initiative for online learning modules, the Hand Hygiene Compliance Application and resources.
Wearing face masks in the community
Wearing a face mask is currently mandatory in Victoria and recommended in all areas where community transmission of COVID-19 is high and physical distancing is not possible.
The Commission has developed a fact sheet to help people understand when it is important to wear a mask to reduce the risk of the spread of COVID-19, and to explain how to safely put on and remove face masks. It also reinforces the importance of staying home if you have symptoms, physical distancing, hand hygiene and cough etiquette.
This fact sheet has also been translated into Easy English and 10 other community languages.
The frequently asked questions below are a guide for consumers on using face masks to protect against the transmission of COVID-19:
The Commission has produced a number of resources for clinicians including position statements on medicine-related issues and a list of links to COVID-19 guidance from government organisations, peak professional bodies, consumer associations and the medical press.
To access the full suite of resources, please visit Medication Safety.
Cognitive impairment care
During COVID-19, people with cognitive impairment may find hospital more frightening than usual. The Commission has developed advice to support health service organisations in providing safe care for people with cognitive impairment.
The Commission acknowledges the contribution of people with dementia, carers, clinicians and researchers in developing these new resources.
The Commission has developed advice to support health service organisations in implementing their Risk Management Strategy following the re-introduction of elective surgery.
Below are frequently asked questions about elective surgery during COVID-19 for clinicians and consumers.
Useful information and links
The Australian Government Department of Health has produced an Australian Health Sector Emergency Response Plan for Novel Coronavirus (the COVID-19 Plan), and the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee has published Statements on the response to COVID-19 and Infection Control Expert Group guidance.
State and territory information and contacts
The state and territory health systems provide a range of guidance, directives, and arrangements to support the response to COVID-19, including numbers of COVID-19 cases, locations of testing clinics, and infection prevention and control and PPE use for local conditions. The website links for the states and territories are: Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia.
Other useful links:
- Australian Government National Coronavirus Helpline: 1800 020 080
- Healthdirect hotline: 1800 022 222
- Australian Government Department of Health coronavirus information and resources