I am sure at this point, like me, it feels to you as though the response to the pandemic has been a major focus for Western Health forever and when we look at the daily statistics and outbreak reports, you can see why we feel this way.
I do not underestimate the burden this has placed on the many hundreds of staff directly involved in providing care in the face of a new virus where information is rapidly changing and we have the added challenges of staying safe for ourselves, families, colleagues and patients – a huge undertaking.
It is a significant concern that 180 staff have contracted the virus and though we know not all of these transmissions occurred at work, a significant proportion would have occurred through that route. Fortunately more than 100 have now returned to work and our thoughts are with all those who are still fighting the virus.
Contact tracing is a critical part of the work that needs to be done when one of our staff tests positive or one of the patients in our care tests positive unexpectedly and potentially exposes staff. I know it is important for many of you to understand how this contact tracing works and the logic used to decide who is and who is not a close contact. We have now published our guidelines and the considerations taken into account by Western Health in this process.
Western Health contact tracing for employees involves a variety of processes, including a reflective conversation with affected employees; review of rosters and break room logs; and mapping of EMR documentation, among other strategies.
You can review any of the following documents:
Below are some images of the contact tracers – our Western Health disease detectives – in action!
This morning, Western Health Clinical Services Director and geriatrician, Dr Clare White, was interviewed at length by Hamish McDonald on the ABC Radio National breakfast program. Clare was able to articulate the concerns we have for the aged care residents we are helping to support and the need for the right response by agencies involved, every time.
You can listen at the link in the image below.
Thanks to all and stay safe
Images of our contact tracers at work