Home Care Workers/Clients
Frequently Asked Questions - March 28, 2020
A member of my household has been instructed to self-isolate but has no symptoms (asymptomatic). Am I required to self-isolate as well?
No, you are not required to self-isolate if someone you share a house with is asymptomatic (no symptoms) and self-isolating, unless you are directed to do so by public health. You are expected to continue practicing social distancing, proper hand washing, cough etiquette, etc., as per government guidelines (www.gov.nl.ca/COVID-19). If the self-isolating person becomes symptomatic, everyone in the household must then self isolate.
I was not instructed by public health to self-isolate, but I have chosen to self-isolate anyway. Will I be paid by my employer?
No, you will not receive pay unless you have been instructed by Public Health to self-isolate.
Are home care workers considered essential workers?
Yes, during this Public Health emergency individuals employed as home care workers are considered essential to supporting our communities and the health system.
My client and I are both concerned about whether I should continue to come into their home during this pandemic. Should I stay home and my client’s services be put on hold?
No, you should continue to provide services as long as you nor anyone else in the client’s home are symptomatic. Reassure the client that you are practicing infection prevention and control measures at all times, and advise that everyone in the client home should do the same. This includes handwashing and social distancing at work and at home. Reassure your client that if you begin to display COVID-19 symptoms, you will stay at home, complete the on-line self-assessment tool (www.811healthline.ca) and follow the directions given before returning to work.
Would I continue to be paid if my client chooses to suspend their services?
The client as employer is responsible to provide a Record of Employment if they suspend your service. You may be eligible for Employment Insurance benefits if you meet qualifying criteria. You will need to make a claim for assessment of eligibility to the federal government.
What should I do differently at home to reduce transfer of risk to my clients?
You must practice social distancing, minimize the number of visitors to your home, and follow hand washing practices as directed by public health.
Should I go to work if someone in my household has COVID-19 symptoms?
No, if someone in your household has COVID-19 symptoms and meets the government recommendations for self-isolation, then everyone in the household must also self-isolate. Contact your employer to let them know you are now self-isolating.
Should I go to work if I have COVID-19 symptoms?
No, home care workers who start displaying symptoms should not go to work. You should complete the COVID-19 on-line self-assessment tool which can be found at www.811healthline.ca and follow the directions given. You can go to www.gov.nl.ca/covid-19 for more information about COVID-19.
My client, or someone in the client’s home has COVID-19 symptoms. What should I do?
If you are concerned about a client who is displaying symptoms of COVID-19 and who has traveled, or been in contact with someone who has traveled, you should advise the client to isolate from others immediately and complete the COVID-19 Self-Assessment tool, if possible, which can be found at www.811healthline.ca.
You should immediately contact your employer to:
advise the regional health authority that there is a home care client displaying COVID-19 symptoms;
identify if the home care service to the client will continue; and,
determine if you require personal protective equipment.
If you are in the client’s home, practice social distancing (2 arm’s lengths between you and your client) while waiting instruction from your home care supervisor.
If you are not in the client’s home, you should not go there until you have been instructed to do so by your supervisor.
My client is concerned about their well-being. What should I do?
Reassure your client that you are taking all of the required precautions and it is normal to be concerned during this time. If they continue to find it difficult to cope or feel anxious, direct them to the Provincial Warm Line (1-855-753-2560). If clients are experiencing mental health crisis, call the Mental Health Crisis Line (1-888-737-4668).
When does a home care worker receive Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?
If your client has been identified as a PUI (Person Under Investigation) for COVID-19 or is confirmed to have COVID-19, you will require PPE to continue to provide services. No home care employee is permitted to work, or knowingly enter the home of a PUI or confirmed case of COVID-19, without PPE and instruction on its use. Your employer will provide the PPE for you to use in the clients home.
Why have I not received any PPE?
Home care workers will not be issued PPE unless it is determined that they will be working in a home with a PUI or a confirmed case of COVID-19.
To ensure that PPE is used only when it is necessary and appropriate, home care workers will only be provided PPE when it is deemed necessary under Public Health guidelines.
What should I do if my client or their family members continue to have multiple visitors in the home or insist on going out in the community for non-essential reasons?
Discuss your concerns with the client and family members and ask that they reduce such activities as per government directives. This includes practicing social distancing (e.g. maintain a 2 arm’s lengths distance from other people) and avoid having visitors in the home.
Families receiving home support may require informal support visitors in their home. As a home care worker, ask your client to limit their visitors to only their home care workers and a very limited number of their informal support network. This will protect themselves and others. If they fail to do so, discuss with your employer that their involvement is needed to maintain safety for all.
Do I still have to pay my Client Contribution?
Yes, please ensure that you make arrangements with your agency provider/bookkeeper to pay current, and any outstanding, invoices. Even though many agency offices may be closed to the general public, they are still staffed and should be called to make alternative arrangements for payments if necessary.
Should home care workers be working with multiple clients? Is this a risk to their clients?
Home care workers should continue to provide care as scheduled, including to multiple clients, unless instructed otherwise.
Home care workers are required to follow guidelines which include strict hand washing techniques to ensure both the workers and client’s well-being and safety at all times.
Do employees and clients still have to sign timesheets?
Yes, timesheets are still required to be signed by both home care workers and clients. However, during this pandemic you need to contact your agency provider/ bookkeeper to discuss policy around submitting of your time. When electronic versions of the timesheet are being accepted please ensure the original timesheets are kept in a safe place for future submission