Mobile Patient Care: transporting clients with compassion

Date published

06 May 2020

For Alexandra – who is based at RFDS’ Illawarra Mobile Patient Care (MPC) base – the best part about being in the Flying Doctor’s MPC team is the meaningful moments she has with patients along the way. Whether that’s taking the scenic route so a patient can enjoy a view of the coast, or listening to the radio together, it’s these moments that forge strong bonds.

Never has this client-patient connection been more important than during the current time, with our crews transporting a number of suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19.

At any time, safety and the processes that go along with it, are fundamental to health care. However, it has never been more top of mind than right now.

“Basically, anything that's not screwed into the ambulance that can be moved will be put in a cupboard or in the front of the vehicle. Anything that can't be moved is covered in a sheet, or maybe some plastic.

“And then you put your own PPE on: so masks, goggles, gloves, gowns, everything. And if you've got a watch on or anything like that – your mobile phone or anything – you'll put that away. You don't touch it.”

With both clients and staff decked out in protective gear, being able to communicate compassionately and put clients’ minds at ease while on the road takes on a different meaning.

Through it all, crews have maintained a high degree of professionalism, and flexibility in the face of often-changing conditions.

Graphic: RFDS MPC crew member, Alexandra

Pictured: RFDS MPC crew member, Alexandra 

“It has been a great source of pride to see how our crews have handled the new normal,” says Travis Gilbert, General Manager RFDS Victoria Mobile Patient Care. 

“In the face of shifting circumstances; a greater reliance on PPE and the logistical and personal constraints that presents; all alongside anxiety and confusion in the community, our crews have consistently risen to the challenge. The demand on PPE and vehicle and equipment decontamination is significant and time consuming. They are meeting the changing requirements of transport regulations while still making clients feel cared for and comfortable,” he says.

Since 1 March to 11 May, RFDS Victoria has transported 201 suspected cases of COVID-19 and 18 confirmed cases.