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September 2020

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Djerriwarrh Health Services hospital in the home team Dr Karen Aarons, Meagan Thomas, Doris Vella, Kath Griffiths, Raylee Dona-Doni and Vicki Baker.

Hospital home support for COVID patients

Djerriwarrh Health Services is supporting positive COVID-19 patients swabbed in its drive-through fever clinic in Melton through its hospital in the home (HITH) program.

The health service is also offering support for other positive patients in the Melton, Moorabool and Caroline Springs catchment swabbed elsewhere.

Djerriwarrh Health Services operates Bacchus Marsh Hospital and Melton Health.

The program was developed by deputy director of nursing Doris Vella and community nursing manager Meagan Thomas.

By mid-August, the program had about 230 people cared for at home and numbers were quickly increasing.

The HITH program has successfully detected early patient deterioration and arranged transfer to ICU, which has avoided potential patient harm.

Once a patient has come back with a positive result, contact is made by the health service to offer hospital in the home.

If the patient agrees, packs are sent within the day that include masks, gloves, a thermometer and a portable machine to measure oxygen levels.

Djerriwarrh Health Services doctors or nurses phone the COVID-19 patients on a daily basis – sometimes twice daily – to see how they are going and monitor symptoms – as well as mental health.

‘Isolating on your own can be difficult, as can monitoring your own health,’ Ms Vella said.

‘The packs provide means for each patient to effectively monitor their health through the guidance of the HITH doctors and nurses.’

The program provides physical and emotional monitoring and support for patients when they are at their most vulnerable.

More recently, meals have also been arranged for HITH patients who require that additional help.