Nurse on phone to patient

New virtual hospital provides care to 1000+ COVID positive children

22 September 2021

More than 1000 COVID positive children are receiving specialist care in the comfort of their own home, under the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network (SCHN) first dedicated virtual care program – virtualKIDS.

This collaborative service provides healthcare, virtually and in person, to children who have tested positive for COVID-19 but who are well enough to be cared for at home.

The virtualKIDS model of care was developed thanks to initial funding from a multi-agency partnership led by eHealth NSW, Agency for Clinical Innovation and Ministry of Health. The current COVID service is fully funded by NSW Health.

Multidisciplinary approach supports children

Staffed by a multidisciplinary team including medical staff, social workers, dieticians, infectious disease specialists, and child life and music therapists, virtualKIDS provides the highest level of support and care to children and their families from across the state.

Dr Joanne Ging, Paediatrician and Director of Clinical Operations explains that by using technology and delivering medical supplies and other necessities, the team can ensure that children are supported.

“Along with regular video appointments and home visits, families also have access to a 24/7 hotline staffed by clinicians, who are available to answer questions or concerns from families of COVID positive children.”

Nurse on phone to patient
Providing care to 1000+ COVID positive children

“This collaborative and accessible approach to care allows COVID positive children and their families to remain safely isolated at home while their health and wellbeing is closely monitored,” says Dr Ging.

Dr Ging spoke about virtualKIDS and the other services SCHN are providing to care for COVID-affected children and families on The Today Show.

virtualKIDS expansion to benefit more children

While efforts are currently focused on the COVID-19 response, the next phase of the virtualKIDS service will include rolling out virtual services to children with respiratory and cardiac conditions, with support from NSW Health’s Virtual Care Program and Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation.

According to eHealth NSW’s Virtual Care Program Director, Ian Schrader this is one of the many virtual care initiatives in place across the state as part of the longer-term transformation of virtual care and the broader NSW health system.

“This is an exciting time as we can combine advances in technology with clinical excellence to provide patients with safe and more convenient care when it is clinically appropriate,” Ian said.

For more information about virtual care visit www.health.nsw.gov.au/virtualcare/Pages/default.aspx

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