“HCSL has been incredible easy to navigate since we went live on the system on the 1st of October. Our team have people with varying levels of technology literacy and the ease of this system has meant that staff are more confident to use technology and see how it can help to improve time management by not having to double or triple up on written documentation.”
Alexander House Rest Home
I am very happy to endorse your system as the information is invaluable for CNMs to analyse the data/information and make informed decisions on best practice and innovation to decrease hazards, improve outcomes, and mitigating factors for resident welfare. I’m pleased you are delving into the data to the level you are, as it’s time saving for sites in many respects, and so easy to dice and slice the information to get the trends.
CNM’s used to spend hours just writing up the collective information before the analysis, so this system is hugely time saving.
Clinical Advisor for NZ Aged Care Association
We are very pleased to have recently been granted 4 year MOH Certification! No corrective actions and three Continuous Improvements.
This follows on from a fully attained Partial Provisional Audit that was required prior to opening our two new wings earlier this year with no corrective actions.
Make no mistake! HCSL policies, software and support have played a major part in these accomplishments. The HCSL software we use means we have easy access to information in real time.
I started working with Gillian of HCSL shortly after I took on the role of Facility Nurse Manager at Bethsaida Retirement Village six years ago. The facility was not using Healthcare Compliance Solutions policies at the time and perhaps this was reflected in the previous audit results.
Gillian is always responsive to emails and phone calls which is critical when timely advice is required.
The HCSL regular newsletters are interesting with relevant and up to date information on issues affecting aged care.
Gillian is a lovely person to deal with. She is thoughtful, professional, pragmatic and I have always found her to be keen to help, with practical advice on any issues that might arise in the management of a retirement facility.
I thoroughly recommend HCSL to all aged care facilities.
Tracy Holdaway (RN BN)
Facility Nurse Manager
Bethsaida Retirement Village
The New Zealand Aged Care Association Education Trust is planning the next series workshops with a focus on the revised Health and Disability Sector Standards 2021.
The standards will be mandated and implemented from February 2022.
There are significant changes to these standards and compliance will be a challenge for many facilities.
Our very own Gillian Robinson, Director Healthcare Compliance Ltd and Nursing Leadership Group member will be keynote presenter and will discuss how you can adjust policies and processes on your site to meet the new and revised standards. Her presentation will also cover how you implement the necessary standards and what education staff will require to meet the standards. This will include governance and operational challenges.
Rhonda Sheriff, NZACA Clinical Advisor will present on Managing current staffing challenges that include staff shortages in ARC. With the borders closed, immigration challenges, pay anomalies and increasing workloads, now more than ever we are facing staffing difficulties in our sector. Let’s identify strategies that help mitigate risk in our sector and ensure safe care delivery to residents.
The workshops are planned for the following dates:
Tauranga – Wednesday, 24 November 2021 – Cubro Head Office
Dunedin – Monday, 29 November 2021 – The Forsyth Barr Stadium
Christchurch – Tuesday, 30 November 2021 – Tait Technology Centre
Wellington – Monday, 6 December 2021 – Te Rauparaha Arena
CLICK HERE for more info.
Right now there are a lot of discussions happening around New Zealand asking “Can employees in aged care be required to get the vaccine?” Associate Jaenine Badenhorst of Rainey Collins Law has cleared up some of the confusion, with some of the below facts, as of September 07th 2021.
Under the New Zealand Government’s vaccine campaign, it is not mandatory for employees to be vaccinated against the Covid-19 virus. Employers can therefore not require their employees to be vaccinated, unless it is necessary for health or safety reasons for a particular role.
If an employee works in a role where the risk of exposure to Covid-19 is higher and/or the consequences of contracting Covid-19 is more serious, the role may demand employees who are vaccinated to fill it. Due to the likely risk to the Health and Safety of aged individuals, it is highly likely to be reasonable for employers to require aged care worker roles to be filled be vaccinated individuals.
Health and Safety Laws
Persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) owe duties, under the Health and Safety at Work Act (“the HSW Act”) to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the Health and Safety of its workers, patrons, customer and clients.
Covid-19 poses a risk to the Health and Safety of others, and therefore PCBUs are required to undertake a risk assessment in their particular work environment, so that they can implement safeguards and protocols to eliminate or reduce that risk.
Health and Safety risk assessments must be done in consultation with workers, unions, and other relevant representatives.
If a Health and Safety risk assessment of a particular role indicates that vaccination is necessary to comply with Health and Safety obligations, an employer may require whomever fills that role, to be vaccinated.
It is important to note that rather than any ‘employee’ requiring vaccination, it is the particular ‘role’ that requires a vaccinated employee to carry it out.
When is vaccination likely to be required for the performance of a role?
Under the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Order 2021, some work at the border can only be done by vaccinated workers. Employers in this case need not do individual Health and Safety risk assessments, as all work covered by the Order must only be done by vaccinated workers.
It is possible further Orders could be made to require other roles to be filled only by vaccinated individuals. In the absence of an Order, it will be up to each PCBU to make a decision for their work place, based on the Health and Safety risk assessments they have completed.
At present, PCBUs in the aged care sector will have to individually assess each role to determine whether it should to be filled by a vaccinated person for Health and Safety reasons.
Health and Safety risk assessments will typically require vaccination if a role involves a high likelihood of exposure to Covid-19 in the workplace and/or significant consequences to others in regular contact with the individual performing that role. Examples will include roles where employees have lots of contact with customers and clients or other employees, especially where contact will be with vulnerable people.
Workers in aged care roles are likely to have contact with many individuals each week, and these individuals are likely to be more seriously affected by the impacts of Covid-19 if they contract it. It is therefore highly likely that many aged care worker roles will require vaccinated individuals to fill them, so that PCBUs are compliant with their obligations under the HSW Act.
In each case, however, the PCBU must assess the risk on a case by case basis. It is also important for the PCBU to consult with the workers in these roles, to help the PCBU assess the risk and ways to best eliminate or minimise it.
Recruiting new employees:
An employer may require vaccination for new employees, however this must be reasonable for the particular role.
Additionally, employers must take care to ensure they are not unlawfully discriminating under the Human Rights Act or affecting the right to refuse medical treatment under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act.
If an employee refuses to inform their employer of their vaccination status, the employer may assume that employee is not vaccinated in order to manage its Health and Safety obligations. If an employer makes this assumption, it must inform the employee of its intention to do so, and what the possible consequences may be.
What if vaccination is refused?
If an employee refuses vaccination following a risk assessment that identifies it as necessary for the employee’s role, an employer may consult with their employee to change their work arrangements, duties or leave, or restructure their work or employment conditions.
Redundancy or dismissal should be considered as final options after changes to the employee’s duties or redeployment to other roles have been considered. Without consideration of all reasonable alternatives, dismissal of an employee who refuses to be vaccinated will nearly always be unjustified.
Any changes, dismissals, or risk assessments must be carried out in good faith.
If there are concerns in your business in relation to employees receiving the Covid-19 vaccination, it is wise to speak with a professional experienced in the area.
Thank you, Gillian, for all your support. The Healthcare Compliance Solutions Ltd (HCSL) aged care program gives a structured clear pathway through the obstacle course of Certification.
The HSCL program was extremely user friendly and appears very nicely laid out and easy to locate care plans and patient’s information. The general feedback from the staff has been positive.
The policies and procedures were easy to follow, and well presented. We appreciated how thorough these policies were, and how much work had gone into developing them.
We all felt well supported throughout, and it was so nice knowing that you were on the end of the phone/email or zoom. Even when we met in person, you were incredibly positive and encouraging, thank you!
We would recommend this system to anyone needing assistance with the challenge that is Certification.
Board Chair-person /Acting Manager.
The following is contributed by Infection Prevention and Control Consultant (RN) Ruth Barrett –
I am 61 years old, a practicing nurse and recently I had a little celebration. I received my 2nd COVID-19 vaccination from a lovely team in Ashburton Hospital in Canterbury.
I feel like celebrating because I have played a small part towards helping New Zealand (and the world) fight this pandemic and get it under control. By having the vaccine, I am helping to keep my whanau and friends safe from catching the virus from me if I get infected, especially if I don’t have any symptoms. It also means I am happier to continue to look after vulnerable people, knowing I won’t be passing on the virus. It is reassuring to know that the vaccine will stop me getting really sick and ending up in hospital or worse. So, if we do have another large outbreak, my hospital bed can go to someone else.
We are lucky in New Zealand to have access to a vaccine that is very safe and very effective, and recent reports show that it is also works against the new variants that are out there.
I was a little nervous about getting the second dose and how I would feel afterwards. Although I have the influenza vaccine every year without any side effects, this time I needed two jabs. But in the end it was all good – I only needed two paracetamols about 6 hours later, had a good sleep, and then, apart from a sore arm for a day and a half, I felt fine.
Of course, I know that vaccinations are not the only thing that keeps us safe – all our public health measures and infection prevention and control activities are just as important. But if you are a healthcare worker, a parent, a partner, a friend, a child, a sibling, a grandchild or other, you can make a difference in your community by having the COVID-19 vaccine.
Ruth Barratt RN, BSc, MAdvPrac (Hons), CICP-E
Infection Prevention and Control Consultant
Christchurch, New Zealand
One thing new and seasoned managers often fear is having a staff member raise a personal grievance against them. We asked Rainey Collins Law Associate Jaenine Badenhorst for some ideas to support management avoid personal grievances. The following advice was the response:
We would recommend that you do these key things to help avoid a personal grievance being raised against you/your business.
- The first key thing to do is to hire the right candidate in the first instance. (Yes, we know that isn’t always easy)! You want to make sure you have a robust interview and reference checking system in place. You could also consider your existing team meeting the candidate to make sure there is a good personality fit. There is also the possibility of a work trial or probation period, depending on the circumstances.
2. Have a written employment agreement which clearly sets out the parties expectations (for instance about work hours, flexibility, responsibilities, reporting lines, raising problems, and so on). It is helpful for these matters to be discussed beforehand, so that everyone is on the same page. This helps to avoid confusion and misunderstandings. Employee manuals can also be very helpful to cover more detailed rules and guidelines (for example internet use, health and safety, bullying and harassment, etc.).
3. Keep accurate employee records and files. This should cover hours worked, leave taken, superannuation or other agreed deductions, discussion around various work conditions and so on. The employee file should also cover any issues with performance or misconduct (detailing fair processes followed, and outcomes reached).
4. Act in good faith towards each other (by being honest and approachable; as well as open and communicative). Being a good employer, and having a relationship with employees where they feel free to raise issues early on is the best way to resolve problems before they turn into formal grievances. Regular catch-ups (like weekly or monthly meetings) is a good way of checking in with employees, and letting them know if there are any issues with their conduct or performance.
5. Knowing your obligations around the law and the contract you have with your employee is also very important. This way you are less likely to cause issues which will turn into grievances. If you are unsure of your obligations, you should seek professional advice.
Thanks Jaenine, we hope that helps managers of services who might be struggling with this issue. Following due process and keeping accurate records will also support why you have made decisions and how. Even with the best processes in place, sometimes you cannot completing avoid a grievance but follow professional advice and you can certainly minimise risk of a claim against you or your organisation.
There will be further articles published here supplied by Rainey Collins Law in relation to supporting your employment processes.