HomeCare 1st Choice in Supporting Independence

Support Workers



Monday 21/9/2020

Kia ora koutou.

Just a quick update to touch base with all you wonderful Support Workers.

There’s nothing to add with regards to COVID but we did want to let you know we appreciate the great job you are doing.

Recently, I saw this little saying:

“When it rains, look for rainbows; when it’s dark, look for stars.”

These are dark times for many of our whānau and, for some of them, you are the star that brings a glimmer of light into what might be an otherwise lonely day.

So, kia kaha! Keep going! You’re doing a great job.

Monday 14/9/2020

Kia ora everyone.

As you will probably already know, the PM has announced that there will be no change in the current COVID Alert Levels. That means, Auckland stays at Alert Level 2.5, with the rest of New Zealand remaining at Alert Level 2.

This will be reviewed next Monday (September 21) with any possible changes taking effect at 11:59pm on that day.

For us, it means, for this week at least, nothing changes regarding the delivery of our healthcare services and the safety precautions we are taking.

Kia Noho Haumaru, everyone. Kia pai tō rā.

Wednesday 9/9/2020 – Advice on Community Clusters and Close Contact

For Support Workers in Auckland:

You will have heard that there have been positive cases recorded in the community, including schools. Please be reassured, if a person has been in close contact with a positive COVID case, the Auckland Regional Public Health will notify them. They will be advised to get tested for COVID-19.

We have communicated with clients the need to inform us if they are notified as a close contact.

To ensure your safety, please continue to use the Safety Procedure attached below to ensure your client(s) have not been in close contact with a positive or suspected COVID case.

Home HealthCare services will carry on as normal for clients with family members who have NOT been in close contact with a positive case and not advised to get tested for COVID 19.

If you have any questions, concerns, queries, or are unsure of anything related to this, contact your office.

CLICK HERE to read the Safety Procedure. NOTE: this applies to all Support Workers both in Auckland and the regions.

Tuesday 1 September

Kia ora everyone – welcome to the first day of spring!


As we all now know, Auckland is at Alert Level 2.5, the rest of the country is at Alert Level 2. What does this mean for Support Workers in terms of wearing masks. To keep it simple, both Alert Levels have the same procedure as regards mask wearing:

• Support Workers should wear a mask for personal care tasks only, or if physical distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained. There is no need for clients, to wear a mask.

There is one exception – when transporting clients in vehicles or shopping.


• Transporting clients is discouraged under Alert Levels 2.5 and 2.

• If you must transport a client, this must be cleared with your office first – phone your office for permission before transporting any client.

• If permission is given, when in the vehicle together, everyone must wear a mask.

• When shopping, masks must be worn in the shop.

Please ensure your client is wearing a mask at these times. You may give your client(s) a mask and we will give you additional masks.

Thanks for helping to keep yourself and everyone else safe.

Wednesday 26/8/2020 - Life in COVID Alert Level 2

Kia ora everyone.

From midnight on Sunday the whole of New Zealand will be in Alert Level 2. Please click on the link below for information relating to how VisionWest Home HealthCare will operate at this Alert Level. Information includes:

• Keeping safe.

• Coming back from special leave.

• Resuming cancelled supports.

• Using public transport.

Noho ora mai – Stay safe everyone.

CLICK HERE to read about COVID Alert Level 2.

Monday 24/8/2020

The news that we are at our current COVID Alert Levels until Monday will be disappointing for many. It’s important that, however we feel, we continue to look after ourselves.

Leanne, VisionWest’s Counselling Practice Manager, has some suggestions to keep us focused and to ensure our ongoing well-being. With the overall theme being one of gratitude, Leanne suggests we:

• Focus on the positives – even in the most challenging times, there are usually things we can count as blessings and give thanks for. Think about those. Maybe even make a list of them and give thanks.

• Stay connected (socially) – even those who enjoy the relative isolation of lockdown need some social contact. Make sure you connect with people you love, even if you can only do it by phone or internet.

• Recharge yourself (e.g. mindfulness, prayer, exercise) – take time to focus on your own well-being. This will often mean doing something to clear your head or to take your focus away from the situation we are in.

• Don’t be afraid to talk to about how you are feeling with someone you trust – everyone has been through a time when we’ve felt things are getting too much for us. When that happens to you, make sure you talk to someone you trust. If you feel the need, you can contact the VisionWest Counselling Team, phone (09) 818 0760, or make an appointment using the form on our website.

And, don’t forget to think back to the March/April lockdown. Think about the things you learned about yourself and preserving your well-being back then. Think about the resources and coping skills that were helpful to us and tap into those again.

Stay safe whānau.

Tuesday 18/8/2020 – Needing some encouragement?

Kia ora everyone.

How are you getting along under the restrictions of these latest Alert Levels? It doesn’t seem to bother some people. Others are finding it frustrating or disappointing to be back here. Others say they just feel a little flat! Those are all normal responses.

Did you know, VisionWest provide an Employment Assistance Programme (EAP) for all Support Workers and other staff.

If you are feeling anxious or concerned due to the COVID-19 situation you may like to have a confidential supportive chat with one of our trained counsellors.

Support provided is around stress, anxiety or worry management, coping with whānau/family pressure, or any other concerns that COVID has raised. This is a way to have a confidential chat about how you are feeling and to get some helpful tips, skills and advice, or simply to talk with someone outside your bubble.

• Every VisionWest employee is entitled to 3 sessions and can choose the online or phone option.

• EAP is completely confidential.

• EAP is accessed by phoning 0800 227 343. Your call will usually be answered during work hours, or you can leave a message. You will receive a call back to get some additional details to help work out the best counsellor for you, then we will allocate and have a counsellor contact you.

Monday 17/8/20 #2 - When Should I Self-Isolate?

The question has been asked, “As a Support Worker, do I need to self-isolate if I’ve had casual contact with someone who may have had COVID-19?” Here is the answer:


• Director General of Health, Ashleigh Bloomfield, said today, the risk for people with casual contact is low. If you have casual contact and no symptoms you do NOT need to be tested and do NOT need to self-isolate (unless asked to by the Contact Tracing Team).

• You should, however, watch for any symptoms that may develop.


• If you are concerned about your health, or whether you have an increased risk of contracting COVID, contact HealthLine – phone 0800 611 116.


• If you are being tested due to symptoms consistent with COVID-19 you will need to take sick leave.

• If you are having a COVID test for any reason, please advise the VisionWest Office.


Casual Contact = Any person with exposure to COVID who does not meet the criteria for a close contact.

Close Contact = Any person with the following exposure to a confirmed or probable case during the case’s infectious period, without appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE):

• Direct contact with the body fluids or the laboratory specimens of a case.

• Presence in the same room in a healthcare setting when an aerosol-generating procedure is undertaken on a case.

• Living in the same household with a case.

• Face-to-face contact in any setting within two metres of a case for 15 minutes or more.

• Having been in a closed environment, e.g. a classroom, hospital waiting room, or conveyance other than aircraft, within 2 metres of a case for 15 minutes or more.

• Having been seated on an aircraft within 2 metres of a case, i.e. 2 seats in any direction.

• Aircraft crew exposed to a case.

Monday 17/8/2020 – MoH PPE Guidelines Confirmation

Kia ora everyone.

As we begin this new working week, we want to confirm the PPE regulations.

Attached are documents detailing the latest advice from the Ministry of Health – for your safety and the safety of our clients, VisionWest Home HealthCare follows these practices.

If you have any questions or need more PPE, please contact your office.

Have a wonderful week everyone.

CLICK HERE for MoH Alert Level 2 PPE Requirements.

CLICK HERE for MoH Alert Level 3 PPE Requirements.

Thursday 13/8/2020 #2 – COVID-19 Precautions Reminder

Attached is a reminder of the precautions required when engaging with clients. These precautions should be followed at both Alert Levels 2 and 3. The reminder includes:

• Questions that should be asked before entering each client’s home.

• What you should do if a client shows signs of COVID-19.

• Standard precautions for Home HealthCare Support Workers.

CLICK HERE to remind yourself of our COVID-19 Precautions.

Thursday 13/8/20 - PPE Reminder

At this point in time, we have adequate PPE and have ordered enough to ensure we can cope if Alert Level 2 areas move to Alert Level 3.

Please remember, PPE is only effective if used correctly.

CLICK HERE to read a reminder about How to Wear a Face Mask Safely.

Wednesday 12/8/20 UPDATE - Return to Alert Level 2 and 3

As you will all now know, the government has announced a return to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 for Auckland, and Alert Level 2 for the rest of New Zealand.

The government has designated VisionWest Home HealthCare as an essential service and has set regulations about the use of PPE and other aspects of our work. As in the past, we will be adhering to government guidelines in all aspects of our work.

These guidelines include regulations relating to PPE and visiting of healthcare clients. The attached letter provides all current information relating to VisionWest Support Workers.

CLICK HERE to read our latest updates on PPE, Pay and Leave, and Visit Clarification.


Monday 22/6/20 UPDATE - Alert Level 1 Work Conditions

New Zealand is now in Alert Level 1 and it is highly unlikely that any COVID-19 is circulating within our communities. However, it is still important to utilise proper Infection control precautions. This means:

• Before starting any appointment with a client, you MUST ask the client whether they are experiencing ANY type of respiratory illness. This includes mild cold-like symptoms, severe flu-like symptoms and everything in-between.

• Advice for the use of PPE is explained in the attached one-page document. In most cases washing of hands is enough, except for when dealing with bodily fluids; in the case of bodily fluids, you MUST wear disposable gloves and a mask. If the client displays any symptoms of illness, they should also wear a mask.

• COVID-19 may no longer be present but it is still important that illnesses that are harmful to the health of the elderly and vulnerable do not have the possibility to spread.

CLICK HERE to view Alert Level 1 PPE instructions.

Thursday 28/5/20 UPDATE

As we head into winter, it’s important that we ensure the health of ourselves, our colleagues and our clients. The letter below contains information about what to do if you feel ill with flu-like symptoms.

CLICK HERE for information relating to your ongoing health.

Monday 18/5/20 UPDATE – Level 2 Rosters

We want to update you with the latest news relating to functioning in Level 2. This update includes:

• Rosters

• Client Screening Process

• Pay for Support Workers

• Ensuring safety on the job

Please take time to read this important information.

CLICK HERE to read letter to Support Workers. CLICK HERE for PPE update. CLICK HERE for Daily Covid-19 Guide.

Monday 18/5/20 UPDATE – Changes to PPE Guidelines

The Ministry of Health have made a slight change to the PPE Guidelines to be consistent with Alert Level 2 guidance. In particular this relates to the need to maintain physical distancing from others. Previously the required distance was 2-metres. This has been changed to a minimum of 1-metre. This includes all clients and others not in your bubble.

CLICK HERE to view the latest Ministry of Health Guidelines.

Wednesday 14/5/20 UPDATE – Moving to Level 2

Moving to Alert Level 2 means we are beginning to restart non-essential supports that were put on hold during lockdown. This is going to be a complex and time-consuming process taking up to 6 weeks as we readjust rosters and client times.

We will soon be providing more information about how we are facilitating this process and how it will affect you. As you are being rostered back on, we will contact you to discuss your work.

As part of the process of bringing people back onto rosters, we will be assessing the risk profile of all people who are currently on Special Leave due to being over 70, or who have serious health conditions, or are immunocompromised.

Wednesday 29/4/20 UPDATE – PPE Use and Covid-19 Guide


While moving to Level 3 is a positive for us all, it remains important that PPE is used correctly. To ensure you are using PPE correctly, please take a time to watch this short (less than five minutes) video from Auckland DHB on how to correctly put on and dispose of PPE.

CLICK HERE to watch video.


The Ministry of Health and District Health Boards have been releasing regular Covid-19 Guides for healthcare workers. These contain important points to remember and reminders on when to wear PPE and on guidelines relating to visiting.

CLICK HERE to view guide.


Here is the latest update with information relating to:

• Home Healthcare’s shift from Level 4 to Level 3 and what that means for Support Workers.

• Details on what we are doing for clients currently receiving no services.

• Pay and Leave details.

• PPE update.

• Covid-19 testing.

Please CLICK HERE for all the latest updates.

Tuesday 21/4/20 UPDATE – Influenza Vaccinations

After much discussion with the Ministry of Health, we can confirm the Ministry of Health has agreed to subsidise the Flu Vaccination up to $35. This means:

• The flu injection for all Support Workers will be subsidised to $35.

• If you have already had your vaccination this year, and paid more than $25 but only claimed back $25, we will be in touch with you to discuss a further reimbursement to include the extra amount owing.

Please CLICK HERE to find out how to take up this offer.

Thursday 9/4/20 IMPORTANT UPDATE – Use of PPE - Guidelines from Ministry of Health

The Ministry of Health have just updated their Guidelines for the Use of PPE for Frontline Healthcare Workers. It includes issues relating to:

• Standard health precautions.

• Using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

• The supply and distribution of PPE.

• Frequently asked questions relating to PPE.

If you have any further questions, please contact your Coordinator.


Tuesday 7/4/20 IMPORTANT UPDATE – Wearing a Face Mask:

A lot has been said about Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). PPE can help prevent infection but it must be used correctly. Incorrect use of PPE can spread infection rather than preventing it.

VisionWest has produced an instruction sheet on the correct way to put on and remove a surgical mask. This is based on World Health Organisation standards. There is also a link to an instructional video - CLICK HERE to view.

Please CLICK HERE to read Wearing a Mask Correctly.

Friday 3/4/20 IMPORTANT UPDATE – Use of PPE:

Please read this letter from Murray Penman, National General Manager VisionWest Home Healthcare. This letter contains the latest information relating to:

• Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

• Our new Support Workers Facebook Group.

• Pay and leave entitlements.

• Proof required to show you are an Essential Worker.

• The correct process for entering a client’s home.


Friday 27/3/20 URGENT UPDATE – Use of PPE:

Please read this Ministry Of Health communication on - Personal protective equipment (PPE) used by community care providers for prevention of COVID-19. Includes aged residential care, aged-related community care, disability, hospice, and homecare. Click Here To Read

Wednesday 25/3/20 URGENT UPDATE – Use of PPE:

We understand that you are all worried about PPE.

Providers and the unions have all agreed this statement to go out to all workers immediately.

Please use normal infection control procedures.

In addition please refer to the current Ministry of Health guidance in relation to the use of PPE. This is on their website.

We have been advised that there is an appropriate PPE policy being reviewed as we speak for all workforces under urgency by the Ministry of Health and the National Health Coordination Centre (NHCC).

We will provide an update as soon as this is issued.


VisionWest Home HealthCare services are an essential service and will remain in operation throughout the lockdown period. We will continue to support you safely as we face COVID-19 together.

This means that Support Workers are still required for work, however we are working tirelessly to ensure that you are safe and following all procedures in place for both your protection and that of our clients.

If you are in any of the following categories, please contact us immediately so that we can discuss how you are affected:

  • Over 70 years old
  • Have pre-existing conditions, such as chronic respiratory disease - including severe asthma, bronchiectasis and COPD
  • Are immunocompromised
  • Have returned from overseas in the last 14 days
  • Have been in contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days
  • Have child caring responsibilities due to your child’s school or ECE being shut

You will have heard that there is a nationwide shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). As a result, we are currently having to limit how much PPE people can have at once.

We are working with our suppliers and District Health Boards to access stocks of PPE so that we can have adequate supplies for support workers.

Hand washing remains the most important step in reducing the spread of infection and will protect you from a host of infections.

Remember the 5 moments of hand hygiene – for all healthcare workers

  • Before client appointment.
  • Before a procedure.
  • After a procedure or exposure to bodily fluid.
  • After client appointment.
  • After leaving the clients home.


Attached are a number of resources that will help you over the coming days:

COVID Safety Procedure when visiting clients COVID Safety Procedure when visiting clients (139 KB)

VisionWest Support Workers – Alert Level 2 – August 2020 VisionWest Support Workers – Alert Level 2 – August 2020 (657 KB)

Level 2 PPE Guidelines Level 2 PPE Guidelines (328 KB)

Level 3 PPE Guidelines Level 3 PPE Guidelines (330 KB)

Covid precautions Covid precautions (155 KB)

How to wear a face mask safely How to wear a face mask safely (296 KB)

SW Comms 12 August 2020 SW Comms 12 August 2020 (202 KB)

Support Worker COVID-19 FAQs Support Worker COVID-19 FAQs (521 KB)


Finally, thank you for all your hard work. Without your support, thousands of vulnerable people would not be able to stay safe and live in the community.

We will continue to update our website https://www.homehealthcare.org.nz as changes occur.

For any health-related questions about COVID-19 please contact the dedicated COVID-19 Healthline number (0800 358 5453). You can also visit https://covid19.govt.nz/ for more information.