From the Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSWLHD):
NNSWLHD is committed to ensuring the staff and residents of the Far North Coast have timely and ready access to vaccinations. This commitment requires that we prioritise the allocation of resources, including workforce, to our vaccination clinics to meet the demands for vaccination.
To ensure NNSWLHD meet this obligation, the RACF In Reach Service ceased on 4 June 2021, as the priority for the LHD is to transfer the nursing staff to work in the vaccination clinics.
The NNSWLHD established the RACF In Reach Service back in April 2020 as a result of COVID-19 to help manage the care of older people living in residential aged care facilities.
This was a successful outreach service, led by a team of skilled nurse practitioners and registered nurses. The service was able to support residential aged care facilities (RACFs) and local GPs to manage their residents on site during the difficult period of COVID-19. During 2020, NNSWLHD provided both support and direct assistance to RACFs across the footprint to ensure RACFs have the education, skills and clinical relationships to build on their capacity to manage their residents during this ever-changing landscape that COVID-19 has created. The types of support provided by NNSWLHD included PPE training, conducting outbreak scenarios, site visits by infection control nurses and regular information sharing meetings.
The building of stronger relationships between the RACF / GP sector and NNSWLHD is especially important as we all learn how to live and create a new normal with COVID-19.
With the ceasing of the RACF In Reach Service, RACFs will be required to contact their local GP or hospital regarding management of a resident’s clinical issues.
Tuesday 8 June was the final date of service operation.
The In Reach team will arrange transfer of care back to RACFs with follow-up documentation to RACFs and local GPs.
We acknowledge that advice that the RACF In Reach Service is ceasing has come at short notice, however the LHD needs to respond quickly to the priority of establishing and staffing vaccination clinics.