Management of mild COVID-19 in rural Queensland

Friday, June 26, 2020

Last week we brought you news of the Community management of mild COVID-19 in rural Queensland. The pathway provides clinicians working in rural Queensland access to a safe and consistent community pathway for patients with mild COVID-19 infection who do not require hospitalisation. 

‘As the pandemic threatened to take hold we [the Statewide Rural and Remote Clinical Network] could see that we needed a collaborative response that suited the needs of rural and remote communities to manage the potential surge of adult patients being diagnosed with COVID-19,’ said Dr Konrad Kangru, Deputy Chair of the Statewide Rural and Remote Clinical Network.

‘One of the solutions was to look at virtual wards. We knew this was already working well in some of the bigger metropolitan hospitals. The similarities between managing a rural community patient in the Gold Coast and in Mt Isa are very similar; they have the same testing criteria, are monitored in the same way, and patient suitability is no different. The key to developing the document was determining the broader picture early.’

The Community management of mild COVID-19 in rural Queensland pathway can be adapted to suit different settings and facilities, and has a strong patient centred care approach. Dr Kangru advises that this involves:

  • Integrating a community’s primary care workforce within Queensland Health’s Hospital and Health Services (for example Rural Generalists and Visiting Medical Officer General Practitioners).
  • Creating hospital in the home (HITH), virtual ward and community isolation by making use of houses and other accommodation in which patients can be safely quarantined and use virtual modalities such as telephones or videoconferencing via their mobile telephone, tablet or computer. 
  • Establishing a regular and appropriate clinical monitoring process to review the patient’s conditions, escalation points for additional intervention, and transfer to the local hospital.

‘This project provided a good opportunity to collaborate with a number of key stakeholders from Health Consumers Queensland, Office of Rural and Remote Health Establishment, and Hospital and Health Services throughout the state. The advantage of working within a clinical network is that we don’t work in silos. We have a range of stakeholders and networks that we can draw resources and expertise from,’ said Dr Kangru.

“By services planning now about how they could implement this pathway in the event of a COVID-19 diagnosis in their community, we hope that we can reassure our rural patients that their care and safety are not being disadvantaged by their postcode.’

Lisa Davies-Jones, Chief Executive, Office of Rural and Remote Health Establishment agreed and added: ‘This pathway is a clinical resource for our hospital and health services to continue to provide the same highly quality care no matter where the patient is located.’

To download your copy of the Community management of mild COVID-19 illness in rural Queensland visit the Queensland Health COVID-19 website for clinicians. Or for more information on Queensland’s Statewide Clinical Networks, visit the CEQ website.

Dr Konrad Kangru

Pictured above: Dr Konrad Kangru, Deputy Chair of the Statewide Rural and Remote Clinical Network.

Last updated: 15 July 2020