JCU specialists work on new coronavirus clinics
Two James Cook University infection control experts are working with Aspen Medical to redesign buildings and procedures for new GP-led respiratory clinics. The clinics are being established by the Australian Government across Queensland in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vanessa Sparke and Andrea Grimes are from JCU’s College of Healthcare Sciences. Miss Sparke said the respiratory clinics will support people suffering from fever, cough, sore throat, and other respiratory symptoms and will lessen the risk of spreading the virus throughout the community.
“They are separate from hospital-based ‘fever clinics’. They will be community-based and aim to take the pressure off hospitals and GP clinics, while ensuring treatment when a patient’s symptoms may not be from COVID-19 but still indicate a different respiratory illness,” said Miss Sparke.
She said after a potential clinic is nominated, the pair will review it in relation to infection prevention and control principles.
“These include ensuring patient flow prevents cross-contamination, ensuring infrastructure such as hand basins and dispensers are available in each consulting room and absolutely every surface is cleanable – carpets will have to be removed,” Miss Sparke said.
The pair will then ensure the clinics have enough assessment equipment and a dedicated space for changing into PPE.
“If there are structural changes required, such as doors, hand basins or plumbing needing to be installed, we recommend it. If a floor plan isn’t provided, we measure the space and draw our own floor plans to scale. Once the Australian Government approves the clinic, we return and train the staff on infection prevention and control processes, and do a final audit,” she said.
The program is an Australian Government initiative through the Department of Health, and part of the National Health Plan Response to Coronavirus announced in March.