The recruitment and retention of health professionals in rural Australia is well documented. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed the precariousness of human healthcare resources within small rural communities. The external disaster of the COVID-19 outbreak described in this case analysis exacerbated the frail balance of sustaining adequate staffing levels and skill mix, which exposed behaviours of presenteeism within rural healthcare teams. An analysis of the complex of factors that led to the first nosocomial outbreak of COVID-19 within a healthcare environment in Australia demonstrates how rural healthcare environments are ill-equipped to meet the demands of unexpected external disasters. Using the Haddon Matrix to examine the factors that led to this outbreak provides us with the opportunity to learn from the case analysis. Health professional presenteeism contributed to the North West Tasmania COVID-19 outbreak and affected the hospital and health service provision within the region. Recommendations to mitigate risk for future disaster planning in rural healthcare environments include improved infection control strategies and a whole-community approach.
|Journal||International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health|
|Publication status||Published - Aug 2021|