2020 has been a challenging year for many Australians, particularly for our tireless health and aged care workers.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the dedication and care we have witnessed from the 200+ aged care providers we support has been second to none, and we are honoured to work alongside them.

As an Australian owned and operated business, our team works closely with residential aged care providers across the country to understand their changing needs. As a result, when the pandemic took hold, we were able to respond quickly to develop Australian-specific COVID-19 functionality within our Clinical Manager software.

Software enhancements to support COVID-19 management

Enabling the early capture of information related to acute respiratory illness surveillance and monitoring was crucial in the reporting and treatment of residents with COVID-19. To help support this, we introduced a specific COVID-19 Assessment Form which was developed in line with Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA) guidelines and in consultation with aged care providers.

We also created an additional diagnosis field in our clinical software to enable residents to be deemed as 'Suspected' or 'Confirmed' of having COVID-19. The field displays prominently in the software to ensure this information is highly visible.

Our next step was focused on helping support clinical staff to provide the most appropriate care for residents that have or were suspected of having COVID-19. When a COVID-19 status is selected, a Progress Note is automatically generated to enable staff to better manage clinical outcomes. We also included a comments section to allow staff to input notes around the date of testing or other important information, which can then be used to manage clinical treatment.

Communicating with families amid COVID-19

Not only did providers need to capture and manage COVID-19 related information, they also needed an efficient way to communicate with residents’ family members about related facility restrictions and individualised resident care plans.

In February 2020, we launched our family communication software, Message Manager. Our goal was to enable residential aged care facilities to quickly and easily communicate with residents’ loved ones from an intuitive, aged care specific solution.

At the time, we could not have predicted the positive response we have received from providers around communicating changes or restrictions related to COVID-19 via the software.

Natasha Wilkinson, CEO at Donwood Community Aged Care Services, was one such provider who shared her enthusiasm about Message Manager.

“They [Residents’ families] feel so informed and that we are in control. They can read about what Donwood are doing and feel that their loved ones are safe and that they are informed. Our residents’ family members truly love receiving all the information we send via Message Manager in this uncertain world”, said Natasha.

Message Manager combines SMS and email functionality, list management and historical communication records to help ensure all elements of communication are captured and reported on from the one system. To help reduce data entry and maintain a single source of truth, Message Manager draws residents’ primary contact details from within our Clinical Manager software.

With historical communication records, staff can easily track what COVID-19 information has been communicated, which helps reduce the need for multiple calls, voicemails, or handover notes for other staff members. The easily accessible communication records are particularly invaluable for reporting purposes in the case of a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis within a facility. 

Thank you to Australia’s frontline workers

Our team is committed to working closely with residential aged care providers to support them during this challenging period.

On behalf of everyone at Telstra Health, thank you to all residential aged care staff across Australia for your dedication to caring for one of our most vulnerable communities.

Michael Donnelly, Head of Aged & Disability, Telstra Health

Click here for more information about our residential aged care software solutions.

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