Regional care and treatment pathways for people who test positive for COVID-19

We are working with primary health and local hospital networks to ensure people who test positive to COVID-19 can be cared for and managed in the best possible way.

Regional COVID-19 community care pathways

To ensure effective use of existing primary care systems, public health networks (PHNs) are working with their local hospital networks (LHNs) and other stakeholders to develop, maintain and update community care pathways in every region of Australia.

Community care pathways will provide clear plans for: 

  • where and how people COVID-19 patients are managed in the primary and community care system, depending on their clinical risk, severity of illness and social risk factors
  • escalation arrangements for people who require hospital-based care. Hospital escalation is directed through the single number for Hospital and Health Services unless there is a clinical emergency, where triple zero (000) is used.

The community care pathways also identify vulnerable population groups and/or individuals that require social support as part of their management plan, with built in referral pathways to available services.

Vulnerable population groups include:

  • senior Australians
  • residents of residential aged care facilities
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
  • people with disability
  • people in socio-economically disadvantaged circumstances.

Visit your local PHN’s website for details of the community care pathway in your region.

This measure is funded until 31 December 2022.

Home visits for patients recovering at home

PHNs have been commissioned to engage clinical service providers to conduct home visits. This includes medical deputising services, nurse practitioners and practice nurses and is used where the COVID-19 patient’s GP may not have capacity, or where patients need to be seen after hours.

Home visits are not expected to be a 24/7 service and are not intended for routine patient monitoring, which GPs can provide using telehealth in most instances. Instead, home visits are intended to provide a GP visiting service, by exception, where this will help avoid unnecessary escalation of patients to hospital. In some regions this includes arrangements to assist with outbreak management in residential aged care facilities.

Where home visits have been commissioned, PHNs will provide GPs who accept care of COVID-19 patients with clear guidance on how a home visit can be arranged with a clinical service provider.

This measure is funded until 31 December 2022.

Extending the role of GPRCs

The operational timeframe of the GP-led Respiratory Clinics (GPRC) Program and network of GPRCs across Australia has been expended until 30 September 2022. The role of GPRCs has been refocused to include treatment of COVID-19 patients as well as assessment and management of patients with respiratory symptoms.

 

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