December 17, 2021

Allied Health COVID-19 Navigators starting

The Allied Health COVID-19 Navigators Program has started this week, aiming to assist with discharges of COVID-positive patients across Northern Hospital Epping.

Rachel Ellis, Clinical Lead Physiotherapy and Project Co-Lead for the COVID-navigator service, explained the navigators will be working both in the Emergency Department and in the COVID-19 wards, working closely with the disciplinary team to facilitate safe discharge.

“We believe this initiative will improve patient experience, ensuring a safe discharge,” she explained.

Simone Carris, Clinical Lead, Occupational Therapy and Acute and Project Co-Lead for the COVID-navigator service, added that four navigators will be joining the program at this stage – Antigone Koutoulas, Senior Clinician and Elise Hill, Maria Bowman and Devon Iluksooriya as Grade 2 Clinicians, and will be looking the expand the team as the service grows into the new year.

“To our knowledge, all the COVID-navigator positions that have been introduced in health services in Victoria are resourced by Allied Health professionals. It has demonstrated they are well placed to take on these positions, as they have a good knowledge of the discharge planning process. Our medical and nursing forces were really stretched throughout this period and Allied Health are in a position to be able to expand the scope of what we are able to help with,” she explained.

Antigone Koutoulas is one of the navigators, who joined the role to be able to provide great discharge plans for patients in wards and support them in the community.

“I am an occupational therapist, so from the OT perspective, we look at things quite holistically, so being able to support the patients when they go home is our bread and butter. The role of OT and Allied Health fits with this position,” she explained.

Maria Bowman, Social Worker, added: “I am really excited about this program because I think that it’s a challenging time for people living with COVID. There is a lot of information that takes a lot of times to digest, there is also a lot of support available, and we can keep our community informed and healthy together, in the best possible supportive way.”