This document provides guidance to virtual care clinics and services for referring people who are diagnosed with, or are recovering from COVID-19 to multidisciplinary rehabilitation management.
This document provides information for virtual care clinics and services (e.g. telerehabilitation) for referring people diagnosed with, or recovering from COVID-19, for assessment by rehabilitation medicine and multidisciplinary rehabilitation management.
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Rehabilitation medicine can offer a wide range of services that have been shown to improve patient outcomes. Rehabilitation medicine can offer outpatient rehabilitation, telerehabilitation and rehabilitation in the home for patients with moderate or severe COVID-19. Those who experience ongoing symptoms or impairments following recovery from COVID-19 may benefit from referral to a rehabilitation team.
Multidisciplinary rehabilitation teams are led by rehabilitation medicine physicians who prioritise and coordinate a process of care by nurses, doctors and allied health therapists and medical liaison with clinical teams (respiratory, intensive care specialists, neurology, vascular, cardiac etc.) as well as oversee ongoing management of other comorbidities if required.
Timely referral of community patients to rehabilitation has shown to improve patient outcomes and mitigate the chronicity of symptoms.1,
Outpatient telerehabilitation services and rehabilitation in the home services regularly and easily integrate with existing single therapy disciplines available in virtual care teams, such as exercise-based therapy for those with cardiac or respiratory illness or disability.3
Criteria for referring a virtual care clinic managed COVID-19 patient for a multidisciplinary telerehabilitation assessment include, but are not limited to:
Rehabilitation medicine services include ongoing communication strategies with the referring acute teams and the preparation of virtual care teams and community services to continue care in the home for those with ongoing symptoms.
Types of communication include:
Processes for referral by a virtual care clinic treating moderate or severe COVID-19 patients for a rehabilitation medicine assessment will vary between and from LHD to LHD but will include referrals to rehabilitation medicine team members made by phone, text, email, online, face to face etc.
If your hospital does not have a rehabilitation medicine service on site, contact can be made to the ACI Rehabilitation Community of Practice secretariat Ms Louise Sellars on 0409 382 268, to identify the closest local services.
This document was developed in consultation with directors of rehabilitation services, rehabilitation physicians and other rehabilitation clinicians working in both the public and private sectors. The rationale for the communications and referral documents comes from five key sources:
Feedback on this document can be provided to ACI-Rehab@health.nsw.gov.au
Members of the
Rehabilitation Community of Practice Executive group with consultation from COP members.
Emergency Department, Virtual care,
Primary care, Community health and
Aged care / Aged health COPs reviewed draft versions of this document. Feedback received has been incorporated.
Dr Nigel Lyons, Deputy Secretary, Health System Strategy and Planning, NSW Ministry of Health.
Louise Sellars, Rehabilitation Network Manager
Acute care physicians, including those working in intensive care and respiratory wards and allied health clinicians working in acute facilities.