Client Screening for COVID-19 Related Risks in a Community-Based Health and Aged Care Setting

Ms Irene Barron1, Ms Lisa Turner1, Ms Kelly Krieg1, Mr Johan de Coning1, Ms Rosemary Woolley1, Mr Stephen Bennett1, Mr Damian Arlidge1, Dr Daryl Kroschel1, Ms Katherine Threadgate1, Ms Paulina May1, Ms Kelly Parkinson1, Ms Anna Barker1

1Silver Chain Group, Perth, Australia

Silver Chain Group delivers clinic and home community-based health and aged care across five Australian-states; encompassing metropolitan, country and remote. Annually employing over 4,000 staff and delivering care to more than 100,000 clients. To reduce risk of unprotected exposure and outbreak a two-tiered COVID-19 screening tool with paper and electronic formats (desk-top and mobile device access) was developed and implemented in March 2020.

Tool implementation required organisational change, and extensive communication and training. Initial screening (tier-one) is undertaken upon referral and before every client visit/contact to identify COVID-19 related-risks. Escalation (tier-two) is triggered on risk-identification to assess and implement infection prevention and control measures.

To facilitate overview and availability of resources, escalation results are displayed in real-time on a COVID-19 dashboard; numbers on quarantine (travel or exposure-related), self-isolating, awaiting-testing, new referral and existing clients COVID-19 positive.

01 April to 21 September 2020; 767,283 initial screenings in 41,224 clients (new referral and existing), escalation required 2,178 in 1,538 clients. Of these, 726 (33%) had identified risk factors; symptoms 419 (58%) (266 COVID-19 tested), travel-related 227 (31%), exposure-risk 80 (11%); distribution 90% health, 10% aged care; per state 54% WA, 32% SA, 6% VIC, 4% NSW, 4% QLD.

Twenty-one clients were COVID-19 positive upon referral, and one existing client identified during screening tested positive (WA, health, flu-like symptoms).  Contact-tracing of the existing client identified two staff with unprotected exposure, with neither developing symptoms or testing positive.

Initiation of COVID-19 screening successfully identified clients with COVID-19 risk-factors, potentially preventing unprotected exposure and outbreak(s).


Work Experience: In the field of IPC since 1999 (21 years) and in IPC department manager role since 2003 (17 years).   In IPC role; Currently working for Silver Chain group since 2018. Previous, worked for SA Health (2017-2018), King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre in Saudi Arabia (1999-2017).

Qualifications: CICP-E (since 2017);  ACIPC Fellow-APIC (since 2016); APIC (USA), CIC (since 2001); CBIC (USA). Masters of Nursing and Graduate Diploma in Infection Control.

Major IPC related JournalPublications: The Journal of Hospital Infection; Outbreak of Burkholderia cepacia Bacteremia in a Tertiary Care Centre Due to Contaminated Ultrasound Probe Gel (2017)

International Journal of Pediatrics and Adolescent; Essentials of Infection Prevention in the Pediatric Population (2017)

American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC); Infection control and Prevention Practices Implemented to Reduce Transmission Risk of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus in a Tertiary Care Institution in Saudi Arabia (2016)

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