The Remote Primary Health Care Manuals (RPHCM) Team are trialling the addition of newly developed acute assessment protocols to the Standard Treatment Manual. These new protocols have been created by the RPHCM editorial committee in response to user feedback that clinicians working in a stressful environment need better guidance in undertaking an initial assessment and determining likely diagnosis.
The RPHCM support and promote good clinical practice in primary health care in central, northern, and remote Australia. They are used by health care workers including remote area nurses, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioners, doctors, midwives, nurse practitioners, and allied health professionals.
The new protocols relate to commonly presenting symptoms at remote health clinics including:
- Abdominal pain
- Breathing problems
- Chest pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Children with fevers.
They will be located at the front of the manual for easy access and provide guidance in the early recognition of sick and deteriorating patients to appropriately escalate care or to make informed differential diagnoses. Once a probable diagnosis is arrived at, clinicians are referred to specific protocols.
Feedback is currently being sought from clinicians on the presentation and applicability of the new protocols to remote primary healthcare practice. Health services are also invited to test these protocols in advance of their integration into the updated manuals due for publication in 2022.