A dedicated service at the Royal Adelaide Hospital is providing COVID-19 positive patients access to clinical services in a safe, controlled environment that also minimises risk to other patients, staff and visitors.
The 22-bed COVID Care Centre offers patients face-to-face specialist support for COVID positive patients who require additional medical assistance for both COVID-related and non-COVID related matters but do not need to be admitted to hospital.
The centre is staffed by a multi-disciplinary team of medical officers, nurses and allied health clinicians in a primary health care setting, similar to GP clinics.
The service will support just a fraction of those who are COVID-19 positive, as most will be able to be cared for in their own home with monitoring by the COVID Response Care Team and GP Assessment Team, or by their own GP through telehealth consults.
The referral-only centre is located within the RAH precinct and has supported more than 130 patients since opening on 23 November.
Among the key services provided at the centre is monoclonal antibody infusions, which helps those who meet a referral criteria, including the unvaccinated, partially vaccinated or immunocompromised with complex health needs to mitigate the severity of the virus.
Dialysis care and support for COVID-positive patients is also being delivered by specialist renal staff.
COVID Care Centre Nurse Unit Manager, Tiffany, said the service was providing patient-centred care for COVID positive patients in a safe and professional environment.
“We want the community to know we have an amazing team of nurses, doctors and allied health staff that are here to assist in anyway should they need it,” Tiffany says.
Although activity levels at the service had increased in the past three weeks, we were well-prepared for the surge, she says.
“We worked a lot on team-building and establishing a strong foundation in the early days since opening so we could operate effectively and smoothly when activity levels did increase,” Tiffany says.
“We are also offering lots of counselling support, as we are often the first face-to-face human interaction they have had since testing positive, ensuring they do not feel so isolated.”
Tiffany said many patients expressed concern for the safety of the nurses and doctors.
“With every patient using the COVID Care Centre being COVID positive, centre staff are in the appropriate PPE including N95 masks, face shields, gloves, gowns and aprons.
“We undertake every precaution, so our patients don’t need to be concerned about us.”
Each staff member is also doing a Rapid Antigen Test daily and undertaking weekly PPE refreshers to ensure their safety, she says.
“Patients can feel confident the staff are protected and well-prepared to look after them in any way necessary.”