Calgary Rural Primary Care Network nurses are at the forefront of care for COVID-positive Albertans, responsible for much of the follow-up communication to patients.

When CRPCN nurse Leah Malazdrewicz phoned Cheryl* to follow up a COVID-positive result, she met with resistance. Over the course of her work calling patients, Leah has learned that, “Some people have an edge to their voice, and you can tell they’re upset or annoyed.”

Leah says, “I could tell she wasn’t pleased with the phone call. Cheryl said she was doing what was ‘legally required’ but didn’t see the point of the phone call.”

Leah clarified the purpose of the call and talked about how the PCN helps connect people to a family doctor. She also explained that sometimes tests aren’t reaching the family doctors, which is why these calls are important. Follow-up is critical.

They talked about contact tracing and resources available on the AHS website. They discussed isolation requirements in terms of staying at home, and not having people over, and how long that might last. Leah believes that discussing their shared experiences of what a grind this pandemic has become gave them common ground, and helped soften Cheryl’s defensive stance. They agreed that it’s been tough slogging for a long time now, and it is wearing on people.

Part of people’s frustration comes from things like worrying about finances, not feeling safe in their homes due to domestic violence, or having issues with getting food because they live remotely.

Please note: The PCN has a team of allied health professionals that can connect you with the resources you need – food, finances, or mental health, for example.

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Cheryl also told Leah she didn’t “believe” the results of the COVID test. Cheryl‘s son had tested positive after close contact at school, and Cheryl’s thinking was that the testing facility automatically assigned a positive test value to the rest of the family members if one family member tested positive.

Leah explained that the way swabs are collected means that no one would have knowledge that Swab ABC is related to Swab XYZ. The volume of swabs being processed, as well as the number of hands a swab passes through, absolutely precludes the possibility of connecting the dots between swabs.

Leah also explained the type of proactive support the CRPCN is providing, which is unique in the world! The family doctor – with the assistance of their team – is managing patient care and keeping people out of the hospital.

By the end of the conversation, Cheryl told Leah she was proud to be an Albertan, and glad to be part of a primary care network.

* Name changed for privacy