COVID-19 Patient & Healthcare Worker Safety

There appears to be confusion still regarding appropriate urgent or acute testing and routine testing requests. As per the lock-down levels last year, Pathlab laboratories ask please that all requestors ensure that they choose wisely.

Choose Wisely

The term ‘choose wisely’ now has a very different interpretation so before requesting any laboratory investigation tests during alert levels 4 or 3, please consider:

  • Will this investigation change my patient management?
  • Can I leave this investigation for a period of time, with acceptable clinical risk?
  • Will this ‘Bubble breaker event’ expose my patient to an acceptable risk?
  • Does this ‘Bubble breaker event’ expose the front-line staff to an acceptable risk?

These considerations are now even more important with our domiciliary service. Please note our current domiciliary criteria: Only immunocompromised, bed bound or incapacitated, dementia or Hospital level patients are eligible for domiciliary visits. Being over 70 is not a criterion, nor is lack of transport.

Rest Homes

  • As a rest home facility, are you able to move your patient to an area close to the entrance so that the phlebotomist does not have to move around your facility?
  • Pathlab needs to be made aware prior to the visit if the patient currently has a cough, fever, shortness of breath, sore throat or a suspected COVID infection, as separate PPE will be required for the visit.
  • Does this patient really need a home visit / can they attend a collection site under their own steam using the facility’s transport?
  • Do you have a nurse that is able to collect the sample as Pathlab couriers can collect it from you?
  • If it is an INR - for most people once the INR is stable, the rate of INR testing can be extended to two weekly and then four to six-weekly. In some stable patients the frequency may be extended out to eight weeks. However, people with higher levels of risk, e.g. comorbidities, may need more frequent testing.

Pathlab will continue to support all our communities, but like most healthcare services at this time, we have limited resource and high risk of loss of service continuity.

We humbly ask you to please ‘choose wisely’ to ensure the safety of our community.