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Home-care guidelines for patients with COVID-19

Patient results and notification

GPs might become aware of one of their patients being diagnosed with COVID-19 through the receipt of:

  • notification by the patient or their carer following a positive at-home rapid antigen test (RAT)
  • a positive result following GP-initiated testing
  • notification from the local public health unit/state or territory Department of Health after testing initiated by another agency
  • a local health service seeking to arrange home-based care
  • discharge notification regarding a patient hospitalised with COVID-19.

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.

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.

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