Patients might be distressed when they test positive to COVID-19.
Delivering, or providing counselling for, a positive COVID-19 test result should be undertaken in a similar manner to delivering other bad news – by building rapport and using clear and empathic communication.
Investigate the meaning of a positive diagnosis for your patient and their household to manage your patient and their potential close contacts.
For patients with a trauma or custodial history, the need to isolate could trigger significant mental distress. A trusted therapeutic relationship and a sensitive explanation of the reasons behind isolation are important when engaging with these patients.4
Mental health support is available through the National Coronavirus Helpline (1800 020 080), Head to Health and local channels.
If an interpreter is required for consultations, practices can use the Australian Government’s Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) Doctors Priority Line. GPs are eligible for a free TIS code. If not already registered, call 1300 131 450 or visit the TIS website. The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has developed a fact sheet to provide guidance on, and support with, providing telehealth consultations with patients who require an interpreter.