Changing practice COVID-19 On the Wards Well-being & Self Care

Update from Qld Statewide Networks – Clinician distancing

A lot of advice is circulating about covid-19. The take home message for junior doctors is “beware of the airway”. We can no longer examine the head, mouth, ears, nose and throat without first considering the risk of a patient transmitting disease.

Please prioritise your own health and safety. Along with continuing to practise hand and respiratory hygiene and staying home from work if you are unwell, there are other measures we can take to protect ourselves and our colleagues:

  • Do not conduct a physical examination of a patient’s mouth or throat (by close inspection or other instrument such as nasendoscope) without wearing appropriate PPE. Only perform an examination if it is absolutely required.
  • Reports are coming in from overseas that a loss of smell or diminution in the sense of smell may be a sign that someone has COVID-19. Although this advice might evolve, please be cognisant of this. We will update as we know more. Have a very low threshold for wearing PPE when assessing these patients.
  • Conduct as many consultations as you can by telephone or video. Keep in close contact with patients via telephone or video. For information on how to do this contact your local Telehealth Coordinator (link only accessible on a QH device).
  • Practice physical distancing at work where possible – in the tea room, staff room, clinics and cafeteria, for example. This is vital to help keep our frontline staff well and to set a great example to the community at large.
  • The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists has released clear guidelines on how to manage teams, the physical flow, patients etc in response to COVID-19. It is likely cleaning protocols for rooms and big pieces of equipment such as scanners and linacs will be added to the page today.

In such busy and uncertain times it is vital that we look after our own health and wellbeing, and to look out for our colleagues. The health of our clinical workforce is a priority so that we can continue to offer the best care to Queenslanders. Visit the CDC website (link only accessible on a QH device) for information and advice on wellbeing and resilience for first responders. 

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