We all need to take sensible precautions at this time to minimise our risk of contributing to the transmission of the virus.
Advice for Volunteers visiting patients:
If you have fever, cold or flu symptoms contact your GP by phoneor Healthline (0800 358 5453) and take their advice.
If you have Cold symptoms or Flu symptoms stay at home and ring the patient to talk. For yourself and your family, know the difference in symptoms between the flu and a cold. Look it up online. Covid-19 starts with a fever and dry cough.
When you talk to the patient, ask them if they have enough food for a week. And who is doing shopping for them. If you need to buy them food, and they are self-isolating, they can leave the money outside when you deliver the food on their porch. Leave the receipt too. If they don’t have cash to cover it, then just write down what they owe you and get paid later.
If you don’t have any symptoms and you have not been overseas in the last two weeks and they are not self-isolating then you can safely visit a patient but I would advise you to:
· Use hand sanitiser before you enter a patient’s house,everyone should have some in their car. If you can’t find any in supermarkets ask the local chemist to get some in for you. They regularly order for their customers. There is a recipe to make it yourself too with Aloe Vera and rubbing alcohol.
· Greet people without touching them.
· Sit 1.5 meters away from them. Bring your own mug or water bottle to use.
· Wash your hands at kitchen sink and show them the best technique while singing happy birthday. Then they will remember that because they enjoyed listening to your singing! You can even use dish washing liquid to wash your hands or bring your own soap.
· During this health crisis, our patients are safest if they can stay at home but they still need social contact so phone them more often.
If you have been exposed to the virus it may take up to 12 days for the symptoms to become apparent, or if you are displaying symptoms you need to be cautious and consider others until test results are confirmed.
If you have been overseas in the last 14 days please self-isolate. The NZ self-isolation requirement was put into place too late, some infected people walked in but YOU can still do the right thing.
These are the basic protocols around self-isolation:
o Avoid face-to-face contact with other people. Current advice is to stand at least a meter and half away from another person and limit the contact to no more than 15 minutes.
o Avoid workplaces, schools, universities, churches, social and sports gatherings or anywhere there are concentrations of people like shopping malls, cinemas, concerts and supermarkets.
o If you are self-isolating at home with other people who have had no contact with the virus or are not displaying symptoms you need to observe the 1.5 meters/15 minute rule of contact with them too.
o The Ministry of Health advises that you should not share drinking glasses, cups, eating and cooking utensils, crockery, towels, pillows and other bedding.After using you should wash items thoroughly with soap and warm water and run them through the washing machine cycle or dishwasher.
o Disinfect kitchen work surfaces and items like door handles, cupboard handles, landlines, TV remotes, fridge doors, appliances like kettles, etc, frequently.
o Frequently wash hands thoroughly in warm water with soap for 20 seconds and dry them well using paper towels, if possible.
o Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing with your elbow. It’s faster than looking for a tissue and then looking for a toilet to dispose of it and somewhere to wash your hands.
If you are unsure of any protocols or of your health status contact Healthline (0800 358 5453) in New Zealand.
Do not seek treatment at A & E Departments without ringing first, and alert your doctor if you feel unwell but do not visit the surgery without phoning them first to discuss guidelines.