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9th May 2022 Country Health

Urgent care, close to home for kids

Country family

*Article by Olivia Williams, Kiddo Mag.

It’s 8pm, your child has a fever and you just want someone to check them out. But, it’s dark, it’s cold and you’re really not sure whether you want to go to an emergency department. Sound familiar?

The Women’s and Children’s Health Network has your back, providing families with access to specialist paediatric emergency staff from the comfort of your own home.

The Child and Adolescent Virtual Urgent Care Service is an online video call with highly-skilled emergency doctors and nurses who can assess children with non-life threatening conditions, saving families a trip to the Emergency Department.

The Network’s Chief Executive Officer, Lindsey Gough, says the service has already been used by thousands of South Australian families.

“We have had overwhelmingly positive feedback from the parents who have used our virtual urgent care service who love the comfort and convenience of being able to have specialist medical advice for their children, without having to come into the Emergency Department,” Ms Gough said.

Dr Benjamin D’Souza is one of the doctors you might come across when you use the service.

“Emergency Departments can be daunting for children and their parents, our Virtual Urgent Care service allows children who are well enough to avoid hospital and receive expert advice no matter where in South Australia they are,” Dr Souza said.

“Our aim is to provide you with the best of care, close to home, whether that be providing advice to treat your child at home, referral to a GP or specialist service, or writing a script to take to your local pharmacy.”

Teresa’s story

Teresa and her son Jakob are among the almost 4000 families who’ve used the service since it started in August 2021.

Teresa lives in Darwin and Jakob is at boarding school in Adelaide, so when she heard he had broken his finger she was worried that she couldn’t be there to support him.

“When Jakob sent me a text to say that ‘someone will call you’ I assumed that I would just get a phone call. To my surprise, his message had a link for a video call and, before I knew it, I was in a virtual consultation with the treating doctor and Jakob,” Teresa said.

“The Virtual Urgent Care Service provided me with the opportunity to be part of my son’s health care when he is over 3,000 kms away, something I haven’t experienced before.”

Spread the word

To make sure all South Australian families hear about this fantastic service, The Hospital Research Foundation Group is sponsoring a new campaign to spread the word.

THRF Group CEO, Paul Flynn says he’s proud to throw his support behind this service.

“The moment I heard about the Child and Adolescent Virtual Urgent Care Service, I thought every South Australian parent should know they can access this expert medical advice at a time when they need it most,” Mr Flynn said.

“Even if they don’t use it, it’s comforting to know that help is just one click away.”

Parents can access the service here, or by visiting the WCH website or googling ‘WCH Virtual Urgent Care’.

Click on the link to the service and you will be taken to a virtual waiting room and asked a series of questions before speaking directly with a nurse and doctor via a video link.

The WCH team may refer your child to a GP, local pharmacy or for some children an emergency department and the team can coordinate your visit.