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Winter Planning Toolkit modules

Module 5: Providing care for priority populations

Immunocompromised patients and those with chronic conditions

Last revised: 05 Jun 2023

Immunocompromised patients and those with chronic conditions

Patients who are immunocompromised or living with chronic conditions are more vulnerable to illness in winter. The cold weather and circulating viruses, such as COVID-19 and flu, can cause a range of complications. To prepare for winter, we encourage you to consider making a list of high-risk patients.

Immunocompromised patients

Your practice should consider various arrangements, processes and protocols to ensure the delivery of effective, safe care to your immunocompromised patients.

Common infections for these patients include (but is not limited to) pneumonia, bronchitis, urinary tract infections, influenza and COVID-19. Providing education to your immunocompromised and chronic disease patients and/or their carers on prevention strategies (i.e., vaccination, hand washing, masks etc) can help to protect them from infection. Make sure to ask these patients and/ or their carers to watch out for any body temperature increases (fever) and any signs or symptoms of infection. Your practice may also wish to discuss whether it would be appropriate to facilitate check-in systems with at-risk patients, for example through SMS, email or social media.

Patients with chronic conditions

Patients living with chronic conditions must also be considered when planning for the winter months. Your practice must prepare high-risk patients for self-management, including:

  • reviewing asthmas action plans
  • reviewing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) action plans
  • checking that these patients are up to with their vaccinations, care plans, action plans and advanced care directives
  • considering a system for priority access for high-risk patients.

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