University of Limerick
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COVID‐19 community assessment hubs in Ireland: A study of staff and patient perceptions of their value

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-03-15, 09:27 authored by Eilish McAuliffe, Sophie Mulcahy Symmons, Ciara Conlon, Lisa Rogers, Aoife De Brún, Marese Mannion, Niamh Keane, LIAM GLYNNLIAM GLYNN, Joseph Ryan, Diarmuid Quinlan

Background: Critical care bed capacity per capita in Ireland is among the lowest in Europe. The COVID‐19 pandemic has put additional strain on an over‐stretched healthcare system. COVID‐19 community assessment hubs (CAHs) were established to prevent unnecessary admission to acute hospitals and to reduce infection spread. Objective: The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness and acceptability of CAHs and identify how the service might be improved or adapted for possible future use. Design: This was a mixed methods study, incorporating co‐design with clinical stakeholders. Data collection was via an online survey and semistructured telephone interviews with staff and patients conducted between January and May 2021. Setting and participants: Thirty‐one patients completed the survey and nine were interviewed. Twenty interviews were conducted with staff. Results: The findings suggest that the CAH model was successful in providing a dedicated pathway for assessing patients with COVID‐19 symptoms, whilst mitigating the risk of infection. Patients were particularly positive about the timely, comprehensive and holistic care they received, as well as the accessibility of the clinics and the friendly attitudes of the staff. Staff welcomed the training and clinical protocols which contributed to their feelings of safety and competency in delivering care to this cohort of patients. They also highlighted the benefits of working in a multidisciplinary environment. Both staff and patients felt that the hubs could be repurposed for alternative use, including the treatment of chronic diseases. 





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