District offers care for returning overseas travellers in self-isolation
High school art teacher Yvette Stride is grateful.
"The nurses looking after me provided such compassionate care. They learn all the theory about nursing during their studies, but their approach to caring for people - it's that part that matters so much," she said.
When Yvette, 45, landed at Sydney Airport after a trip to Hong Kong, she was screened and identified as being at risk of COVID-19 - because she had a slight cough.
She was taken to one of the five hotels being leased by Sydney Local Health District to provide 24/7 care for returning overseas travellers in self-isolation.
The Special Health Accommodation is also for members of the community whose living arrangements make it hard for them to self-isolate at home.
Care is being provided 24 hours a day, seven days a week by about 50 Registered Nurses and Assistants in Nursing from the District.
COVID-19 positive patients are being cared for by RPA's new virtual hospital rpavirtual. If any patient becomes unwell, they're taken to hospital immediately.
Allied Health workers, like occupational therapists, dieticians and social workers, are also providing support to anyone who may need it. They're being assisted by a psychologist who provides support for those who require an increased level of care.
The District has also engaged the services of Arterie@RPA, an in house art and craft program, to provide art and craft packs to those in self-isolation.
"Like many people, I was stuck where I didn't want to be. The art project helped me to cope with my situation. It was like a gift, during my time in self-isolation," Yvette, who teaches in an international school in Shenzhen in China, said.
"It made me reflect on the valuable role art can play… I really think it it's a tool that can contribute to the healing process," she said.
The District has 350 rooms available across the hotels in inner-western Sydney.
"It's a huge undertaking," said Joseph Jewitt, the District's acting General Manager of Special Health Accommodation.
"The District worked closely with local hotel owners and made arrangements with five of them in just eight days. We're creating the blueprint for how best to provide accommodation, care and support for people during their isolation period," he said.
The accommodation is being provided free of charge and the services available include WiFi, TV, cleaning and laundry services.
The District has worked hard to make the accommodation as comfortable as possible.
"We have needed to ensure the rooms can be cleaned in accordance with NSW Health infection control guidelines," Joseph said.
"This has required the removal of soft furnishing items like decorator cushions, wall decor and padded headboards in order to provide a safe environment," he said.
Meals are provided free of charge through NSW Health. And, arrangements are in place for people to order Uber Eats at their own expense.
"It's a big job from a logistics point of view. But it's a job we're happy to do. So that we're able to offer care for those who need it most and protect the rest of the community from the spread of COVID-19," Joesph said.
Security at the hotels is being provided by NSW Police.