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Clinical processes

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    We are still trying to minimise exposure to and spread of infection to help protect our staff and families and patients attending the hospital 

    • One way of doing this is to minimalise attendance at the hospital
    • This means that certain processes have changed compared to pre-pandemic times.

    The following measures are being put in place regarding:

    • Planned hospital admissions
    • Attending clinic appointments
    • Non urgent radiology/procedures
    • Performing blood tests
    • Lung function testing

    Coming in for a planned hospital admission

    Children coming in for a planned hospital admission may require a COVID-19 swab performed prior to admission with results available for viewing upon attendance. 

    • Where possible, positive cases will be postponed.
    • In cases that cannot be postponed, this allows for hospital staff to organise the appropriate room location for your child and help inform staff PPE use.

    Children who will require pre-admission COVID swabs include:

    • All symptomatic patients (depending on admission reason, your child's admission may be postponed until they are asymptomatic)
    • Families from 'hot zones' as identified by the DHHS
    • You generally will be informed prior to your child's admission if a COVID-19 swab is required
      • However if you are unsure or need to clarify, email or call (03) 93455818

    COVID-19 swabs can be performed:

    • Local to your area.
      • For a full list of testing sites including an interactive map and drive through options, please see the dedicated  DHHS webpage
      • Please organise swabs 5-7 days prior to admission to allow for results to be returned in time
      • Proof of a negative result will be checked on admission
      • After children are swabbed, please isolate your child to minimise the risk of them contracting COVID prior to their admission
    • At the RCH respiratory COVID clinic
      • When you check in at the clinic, please inform staff that swab is for a pre-admission purposes.
      • Access can be via drive-in or walk-in
      • Information on this clinic can be found here.

    Attending clinic

    Our department are performing clinic appointments predominantly through telehealth appointments. Face-to-face appointments will only be organised at the discretion of your clinician.  

    • You will receive a mailed letter confirming your appointment details including the type of appointment you are being scheduled for
    • Information about telehealth can be found here:  https://www.rch.org.au/telehealth/

    For ‘in-person’ clinics

    • As we only have a limited number of staff on-site, the clinician seeing you may be different from your usual
    • There are limits on the number of people allowed in clinic rooms
    • We ask that only one carer accompanies their child to appointments and for siblings to stay at home where possible
    • If you are planned to have an in-person appointment there is a chance your appointment may be converted to a telehealth appointment. You will be contacted in advance to notify you of this change.

    Non-urgent clinical procedures

    To reduce attendance to the hospital, certain non-urgent clinical procedures have been postponed

    Non-urgent procedures included:

    • Routine liver ultrasounds (patients known to the gastroenterology team are exempt)
    • Bronchoscopies
    • CT chests
    • CT-bronchoscopies
    • Bone density DEXA scans 

    Depending on clinical indication and level of social restrictions, we are rescheduling certain procedures

    If you have any questions regarding the rescheduling of your child's investigations, please contact:

    • Medical imaging for liver ultrasounds, CT chests, CT-bronchoscopies, other imaging:
    • Endocrinology for DEXA scans:
      • call (03) 93455951
    • Bronchoscopies (without CT):

    Performing blood tests

    Routine annual review blood tests for patients with cystic fibrosis were postponed back in 2020. Given that this information is important to the care we provide to our children with CF, we are encouraging our families to have their routine annual review blood tests performed. 

    Families have the option to have the blood test performed or externally at a local pathology lab. Access to the hospital pathology lab is still available however we encourage reducing attendance at RCH where possible.

    If you wish to perform your blood test externally, please remember to inform the collection service to forward on results to the respiratory department at RCH.

    Lung function testing

    Our lung function lab is open but only available to urgent cases. Your doctor will decide if a test is required, or can be postponed till later.

    We note that lung function tests can aerosolise virus particles risking infection of other patients and staff. 

    Scripts

    Organising scripts

    We encourage families to contact the department in advance to organise scripts, preferably through the RCH portal or email ( respiratory.department@rch.org.au).

    When requesting, please state if you would like the medication dispensed through:

    • RCH hospital pharmacy or Wood’s Pharmacy
    • Or have the script mailed out to yourself or an external pharmacy (please include contact details)

    If you plan to have the medication dispensed through the RCH hospital pharmacy or Wood’s Pharmacy, please also do the following:

    • After organising a script through the department, you must email rch.pharmacy@rch.org.au and state:
      • Which pharmacy you would like the medication dispensed at:
        • RCH hospital pharmacy
        • or Wood’s Pharmacy
      • If you plan to:
        • collect from the pharmacy (include date you plan to collect)
        • or have it mailed out

    Please do not leave it until the last minute to request scripts, or to collect medications from your pharmacy. This is particularly important if your child is on a CFTR modulator (Ivacaftor, Orkambi, Symdeko); these authority scrips take more time to process. We also urge that you do not stockpile large quantities of medicines. 

    Please not that the government is now allowing pharmacists to dispense supplies of certain previously prescribed medications without a prescription. Please speak to your pharmacy in advance to clarify if this is feasible for your child's medications.

    Mail send out of medication

    There are certain medications that will need to be dispensed from the hospital pharmacy and cannot be sent via mail. This policy is continually changing so please email the pharmacy if you are unsure.

    The government have also funded home delivery for medications, Home Medicines Service is available for people in home isolation and for vulnerable patient groups (including patients with chronic health conditions such as cystic fibrosis) who wish to limit their potential exposure to novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the community. This service supports the use of home medicines delivery options available through pharmacies enabling patients to have their Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS) prescriptions delivered to their home. For more information regarding this initiative,  download this PDF. Speak to your pharmacist on how to access this service.