Households affected by COVID in Moonee Valley, Yarra, Merri-bek and Melbourne LGAs can continue to access home visits from cohealth nurses thanks to extended funding from the North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network (NWMPHN).
cohealth commenced operating the pilot in-home nursing service in July to provide health support to anyone living in a household affected by COVID, including parents and carers of people who are COVID positive.
The nursing service also visits people who can’t leave home due to being immunocompromised, disabled or elderly.
Thanks to a recent extension of funding, the in-home nursing service will continue to operate until March 2023.
cohealth’s in-home nursing team provides a range of health services including respiratory assessments, monitoring blood sugars and blood pressure, supporting people with chronic disease, collecting scripts and connecting people with GPs.
Since it commenced in July 2022, the cohealth nurses have visited 315 clients in their homes, providing vital care to people who might otherwise miss out.
The vast majority of cohealth’s in-home nursing clients are elderly, with 90 per cent being over the age of 70 years, with referrals mostly coming from external GPs and nurse practitioners, disability liaison officers, local hospitals and respiratory clinics. People can also self-refer by contacting the in-home nursing service directly.
The secret to the success of the program is cohealth’s great relationships with external partners, says cohealth.
Anyone who has tested positive for COVID or has COVID like symptoms is eligible for a visit from the cohealth in-home nursing team.
“We got lots of referrals from external workers and organisations that know the great work cohealth does,” said Sally Wilcox, cohealth COVID-19 Clinical Services Operational Lead.
One such client is 84-yearold Barbara who was referred to cohealth’s in-home nursing service after she tested positive to COVID.
A cohealth GP ordered the home visit after Barbara had attended cohealth’s respiratory clinic in West Melbourne.
“There was a knock at the door and two beautiful cohealth people arrived in their hazmat suits. They were so cheerful and reassuring and instantly made me feel better,” said Barbara.
“I was feeling really low when the in-home team came to see me, but the visit was just what I needed.
“They checked my oxygen levels, listened to my chest, did some tests and made sure I had the medicine I needed,” she said.
“The virus knocks you around physically, but psychologically also. You feel very depressed and you wonder when it will ever end.”
“It was a godsend to have health professionals who could come to my home, even when I had COVID. It gave me peace-of-mind that everything was going to be ok,” said Barbara.
“I was overwhelmed with gratitude,” she said.
In-home nursing services will continue to play a vital role supporting people who face barriers to care as the impacts of COVID will not disappear overnight, said Sally Wilcox.
“Medical experts are warning that new COVID variants will continue to emerge and that Australians will experience new waves of infections.”
“Ensuring that the elderly and other vulnerable people can get the health support they need is vital,” said Sally.
NWMPHN Chief Executive Chris Carter said the home visit service is improving access to care in a health system bulging at the seams.
“Our hospitals are being stretched by another COVID wave, and many general practices were already at capacity,” said Mr Carter.
“The home visit service is helping to ease the pressure by ensuring at-risk patients can safely access care in the COVID environment.”
To access the cohealth in-home nursing service:
Phone: 0409 731 638
Please see our COVID-19 in-home nursing page for more information.
This service is operating over the holiday period but will be unavailable on public holidays.