24 Jul 2020
The latest episode of the Taking care podcast is a look at what it’s like for patients, and the health practitioners who are working with them, in this strange, ever-changing pandemic context.
To begin this episode, we hear a patient’s story. Shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic first reached Australia, Kath was diagnosed with brain cancer. She has been undergoing treatment throughout the phases of the pandemic and shares some of the exceptional challenges she has faced on top of receiving chemotherapy. Not being able to be visited by her friends, and only select family members, is amplified during an already difficult period of her life when she most needs support and connection.
Host Susan Biggar is then joined by three health practitioners, Ash Scoular, a nurse working in case management and discharge co-ordination in a neonatal intensive care unit, Professor Harvey Newnham, Director of General Medicine and Program Director Emergency and Acute Medicine, Alfred Health, Endocrinologist, and Dr Carmel Crock, Director, Emergency Department - The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital. We ask for their views and stories on what it’s like caring for patients, their families and themselves during this difficult time. The guests share some of the ways the pandemic is constantly changing the way they work and how they see it affecting their patients.
Ash Scoular reflects on how her patients are having very different experience in challenging times: “the neonatal unit normally operates on very family-centred care – with siblings, grandparents, family members around – but now we can’t take the approach that we ordinarily would”. It can also be hard when practitioners can’t work together in the same ways that they’re used to. Says Professor Harvey Newnham, “we thrive on teamwork, and that gets quite disrupted in the isolated environment.”
Despite challenges, Dr Carmel Crock says that she has seen that “doctors are very innovative in changing and moving with what needs to be done in the pandemic.” The guests also talk about the positive changes to workplace culture, innovation, better communication and adaptations to multi-disciplinary care. These improvements and shifts are important especially as we look to how this pandemic can change the future of health care in Australia for patients, families and practitioners.
Download and listen to the latest Ahpra Taking care podcast episode today. Ahpra releases a new episode every fortnight, discussing current topics and the latest issues affecting safe healthcare in Australia. You can also listen and subscribe on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and by searching ‘Taking Care’ in your podcast player.
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