Australian singer diagnosed with COVID-19 shares rpavirtual experience
Australian musician Deena Lynch hadn't picked up a guitar or sung for six weeks.
"I haven't really had a voice for a while. I was really nervous today actually," Deena, who performs under the moniker Jaguar Jones, said.
She sang You Got Left Behind from her debut EP, Diamonds and Liquid Gold, during a Sydney Local Health District COVID-19 Staff Information webinar.
Deena was diagnosed with COVID-19 in March after returning from a trip to the US to promote her EP and has since been in self-isolation in Sydney.
She is one of the more than 400 patients under the care of RPA Virtual Hospital, or rpavirtual.
She joined the District's chief executive, Dr Teresa Anderson, rpavirtual's General Manager, Miranda Shaw, and Clinical Director, Dr Owen Hutchings, for a chat about her experience as an rpavirtual patient.
"I didn't want to add unnecessary strain on the hospital system.
"I just thought it was a wonderful idea to get the level of care that you need without taking up… beds that are needed for people in more dire situations," Deena, who was referred to rpavirtual said.
All rpavirtual patients receive a Care Kit which contains a wireless pulse oximeter, to measure oxygen saturation and pulse rate, and a wearable device to continuously monitor temperature.
Patients also have 24/7 access to a registered nurse through the rpavirtual Care Centre who contact patients twice a day via video conferencing to monitor their vital signs.
Deena has so far clocked up more than 40 days in isolation with her symptoms including a fever, sore throat, and a cough.
"Last week, they called an ambulance to my house that took me to hospital for a physical assessment because they weren't happy with my symptoms.
"That's something I would never have done. I probably would have wilted in bed before I did that. So it's good that someone is looking out for me," she said.
Her sentiments are echoed by almost 100 other rpavirtual patients whose feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
A patient experience survey showed more than 80 per cent of rpavirtual's COVID-19 patients were confident being in self-isolation at home because they knew their symptoms were being monitored.
"Knowing that we're able to provide people with this level of confidence that they were safe, that their health was monitored and that action would be taken if their health deteriorated is really important," Miranda said.
Psychologists and social workers are now also on board to support rpavirtual patients, if needed.
"I am so beyond happy with the care that I've received," Deena said.
"But, I didn't learn about a psychologist being on site from 10am-6pm every day until my third week. I think that's something good to just let the patients know that the service is available," she said.
While COVID-19 may have changed the way patient care is provided, the District remains firmly focused on bettering the experiences of patients – especially during the pandemic.
"Across the District, our teams are collaborating to develop new ways to deliver world-class services and patient care during these challenging times. rpavirtual, is one of them," Dr Anderson said.
There are 35 Care Centre nurses and five Care Centre doctors at rpavirtual along with a team of specialists from across the District who support the service behind-the-scenes.
These include respiratory clinicians, infectious disease experts, the Public Health Unit, doctors and nurses in Emergency Departments and Intensive Care Units as well as the Information, Communication and Technology team.
"It's a true team effort. We've had to postpone our annual events to mark Patient Experience Week.
But, rpavirtual is just one example that highlights our unwavering commitment to deliver the best possible care and experience for our patients during these difficult times," Dr Anderson said.
For more, please click here to view a video featuring Deena Lynch, Dr Teresa Anderson and Miranda Shaw in conversation about rpavirtual.