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Poster Abstracts

COVID-19: An impetus for delivering truly integrated paediatric healthcare

Authors:

Christine Lau ,

Sydney Children's Hospitals Network, Australia, AU
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Nadine Shaw,

Sydney Children's Hospitals Network, Australia, AU
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Emily Chapman,

Sydney Children's Hospitals Network, Australia, AU
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Rachel Barker,

WentWest, Western Sydney Primary Health Network, AU
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Jane Assange,

WentWest, Western Sydney Primary Health Network, AU
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Walid Jammal

Hills Family General Practice, AU
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Abstract

Introduction: The 2021 COVID outbreak in NSW, Australia has seen more than 12,000 COVID-19 positive children referred to Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network (SCHN) virtualKIDS service for COVID care and management. In order to meet the growing demand and develop a sustainable solution, SCHN, WentWest (Western Sydney Primary Health Network (WSPHN)) and commissioned Western Sydney General Practices collaborated to develop an integrated model of shared GP-hospital care. The model intended to provide a wrap-around service for patients, share the management of COVID positive children across the primary-tertiary care divide, and connect patients without a regular GP to one for potential ongoing care beyond their COVID illness.

Aim: To pilot a sustainable integrated model of shared COVID paediatric care in the community.

Methods: The integrated model of GP-hospital COVID care involved:

-Confirmation of daily general practice capacity to accept new patients

-Completion of an initial assessment by virtualKIDS to identify suitable low-medium risk patients for shared care

-Completion of transfer documentation, with handover of care

-Development of clear escalation pathways

-Sharing of resources

-Provision of 24/7 support to families – through regular virtual general practice appointments and after-hours through SCHN virtualKIDS service

-Embedding a culture of continuous learning, growth and development with regular meetings between all partners 

Key findings: Within eight weeks of commencement in September 2021, >200 COVID positive paediatric patients had their care transferred to general practice. By November 2021, approximately 55% of COVID positive paediatric patients in Western Sydney were cared for under this model. Key features of implementation that facilitated a successful pilot, included:

-Identifying and focusing on a shared purpose

-Sharing information, data and expertise

-Focus on continuous improvement

-Nurturing strong relationships with clear and open daily communication

-Documented escalation pathways outlining scaffold of supports available

-Utilising an integrated funding model through Federal and State funding to support care in the community.

Key findings included:

-COVID positive parents who experienced their own COVID care under a hospital-led model expressed a strong preference for the GP-hospital shared care model their children were cared for under. GP’s felt similarly that they would prefer to care for the whole family.

-All team members found the model rewarding

-Improved cost-benefit to the health system by virtue of building capacity and expertise in primary care

Conclusion: A significant COVID outbreak prompted the rapid development and implementation of a pilot integrated, shared model of COVID paediatric care in the community which was successfully caring for >50% of the COVID positive paediatric patients in Western Sydney eight weeks after commencement.

Transferability and sustainability: This model of care supported the shared management of COVID positive paediatric patients across the health system from community to tertiary level care. By harnessing the principles of care integration and co-design this shared care model linked information, communication, providers and funding. It united hospital and GP teams behind a common goal of focusing on patient centred, holistic, and continuous care. The model of care and learnings from the pilot are transferable to the entire Australian health system. 

How to Cite: Lau C, Shaw N, Chapman E, Barker R, Assange J, Jammal W. COVID-19: An impetus for delivering truly integrated paediatric healthcare. International Journal of Integrated Care. 2022;22(S3):205. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/ijic.ICIC22323
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Published on 04 Nov 2022.

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