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RPA Virtual Hospital delivers COVID care kits

District team supports COVID positive patients in the community.

Woman in a car about to drive; materials in the passengers seat
SydneyConnect Image: Mirtha Martinez

Most days Mirtha Martinez is on the road.

"I'm so proud to be a member of a team that is supporting people diagnosed with COVID-19 in the community and connecting them with virtual care," she said.

Mirtha is one of nine staff who've been redeployed to the new Wearables Team in RPA Virtual Hospital, formed to support its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first virtual hospital in New South Wales, RPA Virtual Hospital has provided clinical care to more than 12,000 COVID-19 positive patients isolating at home or in Special Health Accommodation since March 2020.

The Wearables Team is responsible for delivering care kits - which include a device to measure health and wellbeing and essential information about COVID-19 symptoms and deterioration - to the homes of COVID-19 positive patients.

The device, called a pulse oximeter, monitors patients' oxygen levels and pulse rate which helps the patient and their clinicians to identify changes in their condition and to know when they need to be transferred to the Emergency Department.

So far, the Wearables Team has delivered more than 3,500 kits, driving to up to 150 homes across the District each day.

The kits are left outside the front door for patients to collect - but some circumstances have led to unusual modes of delivery.

"One day, I was unable to access an apartment block to drop off a kit. So, I phoned the patient and we improvised - creating a pulley with a bucket and rope.

"The patient used the rope to lower the bucket over his balcony to me. I popped the kit in the bucket and he pulled it back up," Jim Antoniou, another team member, said.

His colleague Maninder Singh supports the on-the-road team from his base at RPA Virtual Hospital's Care Centre.

"I chat with the team while they're in the community, advising them of any last minute deliveries, addressing any questions patients may raise and troubleshooting any other issues that may arise," he said.

Najma Segaram, from the District's Disaster Management Support team, oversees daily operations.

"The team is amazing. They are so passionate about the job they do and doing everything they can do to make sure the community receives the best possible care.

"The feedback has been positive. Patients have commented that it comforts them to know they're not on their own - that we are here to support them during their time in isolation at home," she said.