Media Release: Important regional COVID-19 study commenced

Some local people have recently received an SMS inviting them to part of a survey on how attending the COVID screening clinics has affected them. It is not a scam!

Western District Health Service (WDHS), Hamilton and South West Healthcare, Warrnambool have been so important in screening and detecting COVID-19 cases in our region. Their COVID-19 services have been running consistently since March 2020 and have been vital in helping us keep an accurate finger on the pulse of COVID-19 in our region.⁠

Researchers want to understand how people have coped before, after and whilst waiting for their COVID-19 results. To study this researchers from Federation University, Western District Health Service and South West Healthcare are collaborating to conduct the study, “Mental health at the COVID-19 frontline: An assessment of distress, anxiety and coping from attendees and staff at screening clinics”. ⁠

Principal researcher Susan Brumby said “To date over 5000 people have attended these two regional clinics and people may feel anxious about the results, worried about being sick or having symptoms and having to go home and isolate.” she said. “Findings from this study will assist us in developing new ways to support regional Victorians and healthcare workers and improve services during such a crisis”. ⁠

The study is voluntary. It uses a completely anonymous online survey that will not take more than 20 minutes to complete. People who are 18 years and older and attended either the Drive-through COVID-19 Clinic at Hamilton Base Hospital, WDHS, Hamilton OR, Respiratory Assessment Clinics South West Healthcare, Warrnambool will be contacted by SMS. ⁠

It will not take more than 20 minutes to complete and will be running until Feb 28, 2021.

The project has been approved by Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) at both South West Healthcare Human Research Ethics Committee (Ref: 2020 20) and Federation University Australia (Ref: B20-036). The research has been funded by Western Alliance Academic Health Science Centre and supported by Western District Health Service, South West Healthcare and Federation University.

Non-participation in this research will not impact any service at these healthcare settings.

If you have any questions regarding this study, please contact the Principal Researchers of this project:

Susan Brumby
Director National Centre for Farmer Health
Western District Health Service (WDHS) and Deakin University
+61 3 5551 8533
Dr Muhammad Aziz Rahman
Associate Professor of Public Health
School of Health
Federations University Australia
+61 3 4313 7908