Accommodation access to help vulnerable self-isolate

WA Primary Health Alliance is continuing to ensure those at higher risk of developing complications from respiratory conditions, including COVID-19, can receive the health care and support they need.

Earlier this month the Derbarl Yerrigan Health Service (DYHS) opened two new GP-led respiratory clinics in Maddington and Mirrabooka, facilitated by WA Primary Health Alliance.

This was in addition to ten other GP-led respiratory clinics across Western Australia, endorsed by the Australian Government as part of its $2.4 billion health package response to COVID-19.

The Maddington and Mirrabooka clinics, also known as Moorditj Kwopa Malyan (strong, good lungs), allow local communities, particularly Aboriginal people, access to rapid assessment and testing for acute respiratory conditions, including COVID-19.

People who receive testing at these respiratory clinics are required to self-isolate and act as though they have COVID-19 until their results are received.

However, it was noted that some clients may not be able to self-isolate appropriately due to their living arrangements.

WA Primary Health Alliance Assistant General Manager Strategy and Engagement Dr Erica Davison said we identified Aboriginal people as a high-risk group for the current pandemic, and WA Primary Health Alliance’s role in Aboriginal Health and COVID-19 recognises that for some Aboriginal people, access to COVID-19 health resources is not the same.

“We have facilitated a pathway of care in collaboration with DYHS RC, Public Health Operations (PHOps), COVID Care Assistance Team (COVID CAT) and State Welfare Incident Control Centre (SWICC) – an extension of Department of Communities – to ensure people can access temporary accommodation.

“This gives people an option to access two nights of accommodation through the SWICC when they are required to self-isolate while they wait for tests to come back. Further to this if a positive result was to be returned, isolation accommodation is provided for 14 days with PHOps following contact tracing, COVID CAT ensuring care coordination and DYHS supporting if health needs escalate.

A flowchart, developed for Homeless Healthcare by the Public Health Emergency Operations COVID CAT, has been adapted for DYHS Respiratory Clinics to ensure consistency of service.

“This is a great example of the collaborative work that keeps happening during this time, as part of WA Primary Health Alliance’s goal of ensuring equitable access to health care is available to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people during the COVID-19 pandemic, and beyond,” Dr Davison said.

WA Primary Health Alliance has been collaborating with key stakeholders, such as the Aboriginal Health Council of WA and the state WA Aboriginal Advisory Working Group to provide the best opportunity for Aboriginal people during the pandemic.

Find out more about our work during COVID-19 to support primary care.