South Australia Implements COVID-19 Phone Monitoring Program to Support Vulnerable

South Australia Implements COVID-19 Phone Monitoring Program to Support Vulnerable
SA Premier Steven Marshall at Memorial Drive on January 29, 2021 in Adelaide, Australia. (Mark Brake/Getty Images)
Steve Milne

The South Australian Government has spent $2.3 million (US$1.65 million) to establish a new phone monitoring program that calls vulnerable residents with COVID-19 twice a day to ensure they have adequate support during home isolation.

In a media release on Tuesday, Premier Steven Marshall said the COVID Home Telephone Monitoring Program from Wellbeing SA is boosting the support already given by the COVID Response Care Team (CRCT) in monitoring vulnerable South Australians with COVID-19.

“As more South Australians become infected with COVID, the research shows at least 95 percent of them can complete their 10 days of isolation safely at home,” he said.

“This new phone monitoring program will assist those people who require a bit more support at home while doing the right thing and isolating to protect the health of other South Australians.”

Wellbeing SA is an agency separate from the Department for Health and Wellbeing, which focuses on the prevention of disease in its vision to create a balanced health and wellbeing system supporting the improved physical, mental, and social wellbeing of South Australians.

Marshall said that as well as monitoring a person’s overall health and wellbeing, the program looks at their ability to access food, medication, and other vital services, along with providing advice and help when necessary.

In addition to providing the new phone service, Wellbeing SA will begin admitting COVID-19 patients to My Home Hospital, which brings hospital-level care to patients at home in the form of doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, blood tests, medication, and some x-rays, as well as meals and personal care if required.

Wellbeing SA Chief Executive Lyn Dean said people with COVID-19 first undergo a health and wellbeing assessment from CRCT, after which they may be referred to the telephone monitoring program.

“The program takes referrals from CRCT, who assess whether a person is more at risk of becoming unwell in their isolation period or maybe more vulnerable,” she said.

The person then receives an in-depth assessment over the phone, followed typically by two calls a day to make sure they have what they need to isolate safely over the period.

“People who develop a clinical concern that cannot be managed in their home or require urgent clinical review will be escalated back to the CRCT team for management and closer monitoring,” Dean said.

This comes as the number of active COVID-19 cases in South Australia has climbed to 30,641, with 287 people in hospital with the infection.

Steve is an Australian reporter based in Sydney covering sport, the arts, and politics. He is an experienced English teacher, qualified nutritionist, sports enthusiast, and amateur musician. Contact him at [email protected].
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