08/11/2021 | Stephen Wade MLC | Better Services

South Australian children and young people who have COVID-19 will be able to access treatment from the comfort and safety of their own home, as part of the Women’s and Children’s Health Network’s (WCHN) COVIDKIDS service.

Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said, as part of the Marshall Liberal Government’s COVID-Ready Plan, more than $3.7 million is being invested into the establishment of the new service to look after the youngest cohort of South Australians when the borders reopen later this month.

“The new COVIDKIDS service engages experienced paediatric nurses, doctors and other supporting staff from the Women's and Children’s Hospital to assess children with COVID-19 without them and their families needing to leave home,” said Minister Wade.

“We know most children and young people with COVID-19 will either have no symptoms or only mild symptoms. They will be supported by the specialist GP Assessment Team who are assessing and caring for COVID-positive South Australians in partnership with our health networks.

“This service builds on the success of the hospital’s Child and Adolescent Virtual Urgent Care Service which has provided almost 500 families with medical assessment and advice from their home as part of a pilot launched earlier this year.

“By expanding the hospital’s online care capacity, we are ensuring that the projected 95 per cent of children and young people with COVID-19 who can be cared for outside of a hospital setting can be, freeing up our hospitals for those who need them.”

Families whose children are referred to COVIDKIDS will receive regular check-ups, support and advice while at home and children will be able to access onsite care at the hospital, should they require it.

If a child with COVID-19 does require in-person care, the COVIDKIDS team will organise for them to attend hospital and will review them in a newly upgraded space specifically for patients with COVID-19 if appropriate.

The space will have its own separate, dedicated patient entrance off King William Road. If a child with COVID-19 needs to be admitted to the hospital, the COVIDKIDS team will ensure that the process is as easy and safe as possible for the family.

“The Marshall Liberal Government is also investing in infrastructure upgrades to the ventilation and air-conditioning system to this newly dedicated area for patients with COVID-19. This will help provide a safe environment for the children and families who need extra medical care and support and need to be in hospital,” said Minister Wade.

WCHN CEO, Lindsey Gough, said the new COVIDKIDS service will provide families with access to timely medical care in the comfort of their home for children with non-life-threatening symptoms of COVID-19, while also minimising the spread of this potentially life-threatening illness.

“Children can be ‘admitted’ to the COVIDKIDS service via GPAT, a GP liaison service, and then be contacted and assessed by a paediatrician and experienced paediatric nurse by videoconference,” said Ms Gough.

“This team will decide how frequently the child requires monitoring, which may be once a day via a phone call from a paediatric nurse, or up to twice daily with a doctor/nurse team via videoconference.

“Parents will also be asked to monitor their child’s health and wellbeing including temperature, breathing, and eating and drinking.”

For more information, visit www.wch.sa.gov.au/covikids