Helping patients understand the COVID testing process
8/04/2020 4:35:22 p.m.

Wednesday 8 April 2020


Helping patients understand the COVID testing process


A walk-through of one of the Lakes District Health Board’s COVID-19 testing sites has been filmed and uploaded to social media to help potential patients understand the process.

Rotorua Hospital clinical nurse director Christine Payne guides viewers through the Rotorua Community Based Assessment Centre and explains the process.

The centre is one of two in the Lakes DHB area. The other is in Taupo. It also has two testing sites, one of each in Rotorua and Taupo.

“The purpose of the CBAC is to perform a basic assessment of the patient, as if they were going to the ED, we’re not just taking a swab but looking at other symptoms they might have,” she says.

“We’re checking all their vital signs, including temperature, blood pressure and blood oxygen. We ask other questions about their symptoms and then take a throat swab which will be tested at the laboratory for COVID-19. Then the patient can be forwarded for treatment either at the ED or be referred back to their GP.”

Patients are referred to the assessment centre generally after calling Healthline or the Lakes Covid-19 assessment line.

“Those phone calls act as the initial triage,” Christine says.

When patients arrive for their appointment at the assessment centre they drive in so everyone is undercover.
Patients stay in the vehicle the entire time. There is a cubicle area for any patient who arrives on foot having used public transport.

There are two nurses and a health care assistant (HCA) in full personal protective equipment, plus security and an admin assistant.

“We could carry out the assessments with fewer staff but this makes it as smooth and efficient as possible for the patient.

“We have one person at the front end, one capturing the information and then someone taking things that have been used and bagged appropriately.”

She says the video was a way of providing some reassurance for patients during what is a period of uncertainty.

“Facebook is a medium that’s easy access and hopefully gives them more information about what goes on at the hospital and what has been going on. It shows that we are still able to support our community through this current uncertainty.”