Caring for patients, carers and families

Managing your own mental health and well-being will help you in your role in caring for patients and their families. The way we as health professionals speak with patients, carers and family members during these critical times can have a profound and lasting impact on their experience. Also consider providing with resources (including digital resources), and be familiar with what local mental health services are available.

Key considerations for communicating with patients, carers and families

  • Use plain language and avoid euphemisms or overly technical terms
  • Communicate clearly, summarise and repeat key points so that you deliver consistent and accurate messages
  • Patient education can play a critical role in helping to allay fear of the virus and reduce distress
  • Involve patients, carers and family members in discussions, where appropriate
  • Help the patient identify supportive networks (eg trusted family members, friends and community members) and to think through how each one can be involved in helping
  • Use a range of fact based and reputable communication strategies (eg. print, podcasts, social media posts)
  • Use NSW Health interpreter services when needed
  • It has been shown that health outcomes for patients, carers and their families improve when they are able to talk through their concerns, decisions, preferences and choices with health professionals



Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Everyone is at risk of contracting COVID-19. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities maybe at a greater risk from COVID-19. This is related to several complex and interconnected factors based on historical and political contexts, including:

  • higher rates of other health issues in community
  • accessing health care
  • people may rely on outreach health services
  • kinship caring responsibilities
  • strong connections to family and community may mean a need to travel more often
  • increased responsibility due to the impact of Aboriginal cultural determinants of health

Service planning and delivery for Aboriginal people at the local level requires strong partnerships between Community, NSW Local Health Districts (LHDs) and Specialty Networks, Aboriginal Health Workers and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs).

The Australian Government Department of Health has developed a broad range of print and medial resources to support Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander people. Other resources include those developed by the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council (AHMRC) and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and the NSW Health resources in support of Aboriginal health.


English and Multilingual resources for patients and families

Resources (including translated factsheets, information videos and posters) are available in English and a variety of community languages from the NSW Health COVID-19 (Coronavirus) resources page.