Sue Atkins 1
1 Regional Infection Control Consultant, Department Of Health And Human Services, Ballarat, VIC, Australia
In the Grampians Region Victoria acute healthcare services there is either an Emergency Department staffed with medical and nursing expertise at all times, or an Urgent Care Center often covered by one nurse who works in the adjacent acute care ward at the same time, while medical support is off site.
Infectious diseases in patients presenting to Urgent Care Centers are few and far between, but when they present, it is usually out of hours where support is not readily available.
An Emergency Department Infectious Diseases Quick Reference Guide was developed covering six infectious diseases that require quick identification to prevent an outbreak. This guide included triage triggers for signs and symptoms, infection prevention strategies, and notification channels. To compliment this guide an Infection Prevention and Control Screening Tool was also developed for all presentations to urgent care. Both were implemented in all Grampians Region acute healthcare services in early 2016.
Those working in Urgent Care Centers in the Grampians Region have a tool to support infection prevention and assist with the timely identification of infectious diseases leading to appropriate management and timely notification.
It is important that staff in Urgent Care Centers have the tools to identify infectious diseases and isolate as necessary to prevent an outbreak with potential severe consequences. While these tools are not a comprehensive list of infectious diseases it does raise awareness of early detection and management of infectious diseases while encouraging discussion with patients to determine potential risks.