Providing COVID positive people with continuity of care

Please note the COVID Positive Home Visiting Service will end on 31 December 2022.

Most people who test positive for COVID-19 will experience mild to moderate symptoms that can be managed at home or by their GP, especially if they are fully vaccinated.

But for some people, relatively mild COVID-19 infection can still put them at risk of hospitalisation if their health care provider is unable to visit them for face-to-face care.

To support the management of COVID-19-positive people at risk of unnecessary hospitalisation, WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) has partnered with home-care health specialists Silver Chain, WA Deputising Medical Service (WADMS) and Dial-a-Doctor to provide a COVID Positive Home Visiting and Telehealth Service to:

  • People living in residential aged care facilities (RACFs)
  • People living in licensed private psychiatric hostels (PPHs)
  • People experiencing homelessness or are street present who have alcohol and/or other drug related conditions and are isolating in State Quarantine Facilities (quarantine hotels).

WA Primary Health Alliance General Manager Mark Cockayne says this vital service is supporting general practice at this critical time by opening new pathways for COVID positive people to continue to be cared for in the community and stay out of hospital.

“Delivered face-to-face or via telehealth, at no cost to the patient, the COVID Positive Home Visiting Service will allow people to receive the care that they need during the after-hours period or when their primary care provider may not have capacity to offer a home visit.

“In addition to supporting people to recover from COVID-19, the service will also include assessment and management of chronic conditions, injury and other health issues that may result in them being hospitalised while isolating”, Mr Cockayne said.

All three service providers bring with them a long history of working with general practice to provide continuity of care to the community.

When a patient requires medical assessment and/or treatment, WA Deputising Medical Services and Dial-a-Doctor will be deputised by the patient’s usual GP to provide a doctor consult to people who are isolating in the eligible facilities.

WADMS General Manager Trudy Mailey says this service is not intended for routine monitoring and care, but to provide critical interventions to avoid unnecessary hospitalisation or help people to have their care escalated to a hospital when it is required.

‘This home visiting and telehealth service is here to provide a seamless link between COVID positive people and their regular GPs to provide full continuity of their health care,” Ms Mailey said.

Dial-a-Doctor CEO Mike Dale says that providing this continuity of care is win-win for the patient, their families, and their GP.

“The pandemic has placed unprecedented strain on general practice, and this service will help to alleviate the pressure on GPs to provide home visits to avoid unnecessary hospitalisation of their patients,” said Mr Dale.

For patients who need additional health care support, Silver Chain registered nurses will provide face-to-face and telehealth care for a range of health conditions including chronic disease care, minor injuries, wound care, and catheter management.

Silver Chain’s Executive Director, Western Australia Renae Lavell said the program aims to bring care directly to COVID-19 patients and prevent unnecessary hospitalisations due to worsening health conditions.

“By helping to manage the health concerns of a COVID-19 positive West Australian at the place they live, we can not only relieve some of the pressure on GPs as COVID-19 cases rise, but also help community members avoid unnecessary hospital admissions,” Ms. Lavell said.

The COVID Positive Home Visiting and Telehealth Service is not intended to duplicate or replace other services, where accessing those is the most appropriate pathway for support.

The service is available to people within Western Australia with a current COVID-19 diagnosis, or diagnosed with COVID-19 within 30 days prior to the referral, who are also:

  • Residents of residential aged care facilities (RACFs);
  • Residents of licensed private psychiatric hostels (PPHs);
  • Homeless (street present), with alcohol and/or other drug related conditions, and isolating in State Quarantine Facilities (quarantine hotels).

More information on client eligibility and how to refer is available here.