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Patient shares experience of virtual care

Ken Zulumovski reflects on his experience at RPA Virtual Hospital as the District marks Patient Experience Week.


Ken Zulumovski's experience of virtual care exceeded his expectations.

"I was getting calls from doctors, phone calls from health care workers and technology was mailed to my house. I remember telling friends, 'this is amazing'," he said.

Ken, a proud Kabi Kabi man from south-east Queensland, is the founder of Gamarada – an organisation that delivers programs to address the mental health and social and emotional wellbeing of members of Sydney's Aboriginal community.

In February this year, he tested positive to COVID-19, and received care from the team at RPA Virtual Hospital set up by Sydney Local Health District.

The purpose-built Virtual Care Centre is equipped with 'Care Pods' that include videoconferencing technology and the ability to remotely monitor patients with wearables.

His condition was monitored by nurses at the Virtual Care Centre and a care kit, which includes a device to measure health and wellbeing and essential information about COVID-19 symptoms and deterioration, was delivered to his home.

"I would like to acknowledge the staff for their enthusiasm and their energetic attitude towards the care. They were very responsive.

"They were a good team. They were enjoying their work – which, as a patient, is something that you can tell. As a patient, you feel that in your treatment experience," he said.

During his care, Ken was also contacted by RPA Virtual Hospital's Aboriginal Cultural Response Team.

"I didn't expect a phone call from an Aboriginal Health practitioner. I immediately recognised the voice over the phone and thought 'this is mob calling and checking in'," he said.

At RPA Virtual Hospital, patient feedback has been positive with 88 per cent of patients reporting they felt confident at home knowing they were being supported virtually.

Ken shared his experience as the District marks Patient Experience Week which acknowledges the impact health care staff have on patient experience every day.

It provides an opportunity to reflect – recognising that patient experience is about more than receiving clinical care and that how care is delivered is just as important.

The first virtual hospital in New South Wales, RPA Virtual Hospital has now provided clinical care to more than 60,000 people – including close to 52,000 who received virtual care and  8000 who received in-person nursing care since March 2020.

The team at the Virtual Care Centre has grown from an initial six Registered Nurses to more than 70 staff including doctors, a multidisciplinary allied health team, a Digital Patient Navigator and the Aboriginal Cultural Response Team.