As part of New Zealand’s COVID-19 response, the Dietitians Board office is currently closed. Staff will be returning to the office on Monday 8 June 2020.
The Dietitians Board is aware of the enormous pressure that our registered health professionals are under across all health care settings as part of New Zealand’s response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. In particular we recognise the work Dietitians are doing to ensure that they can provide the best possible care to their patients & clients and also help to protect the public and themselves during this challenging time.
UPDATES, INFORMATION & RESOURCES
ALERT LEVEL 1 UPDATE
The move to Alert Level 1 at 11.59pm on Monday 8 June will enable Registered Dietitians to provide services similarly to pre COVID-19.
As indicated in earlier communications Dietitians working within a DHB will have their own set of guidelines and protocols that DHB dietitians may need to follow.
The following are recommendations from the Ministry of Health for the Allied Health Workforce:
- Enable contact tracing e.g. NZ COVID-19 tracer app.
- Discouraging patients to attend appointments when they are sick e.g. screening prior to appointment, public messaging
- Good infection prevention control measures are in place such as frequent hand washing and cleaning
- Physical distancing is not required but is encouraged where possible
ALERT LEVEL 2 UPDATE
As we move to Alert Level 2 on 14 May 2020 the Ministry of Health has issued guidance to the Allied Health sector which covers Dietitians – please refer to the Allied Health Professions web page regularly for up to date messaging and a letter from Dr Martin Chadwick – MoH Lettter to Allied Health Professionals.
Health practitioners are a high risk group of both contracting and transmitting COVID-19. The management of these risks needs to be balanced with continuing to provide equitable and essential health and disability services.
As indicated in earlier communications Dietitians working within a DHB continue to work as previously – DHB’s have their own set of guidelines and protocols that DHB dietitians need to follow.
Under Alert Level 2 Dietitians working in a non-DHB environment can “return to the workplace” as long as measures are taken to protect the health and safety of the public and themselves.
Dietitians working in private practice and in the community are able to see clients/patients in-person if the following processes are in place:
- Screening for COVID-19 symptoms prior to in-person appointment
- Physical distancing measures
- Infection prevention control measures including PPE where required
- Please follow Ministry of Health Guidelines and the requirements of any facility you are visiting
Dietitians are able to travel within and to neighbouring regions to provide care to clients/patients and receive training.
Physical distancing must be in place for any type of treatment, consultation or training.
Telehealth and virtual appointments remain the preferred option in Alert Level 2. Please exercise extra caution when treating vulnerable groups.
Key messages for health practitioners at Alert Level 2 are:
- Screening is paramount
- Physical distancing remains
- Best practice hygiene must be applied
- Professional/clinical discretion and judgement should be applied
- Mitigate all/any risk for clients/patients and self
- Patients/clients must have confidence in their health practitioner
Ministry of Health has advised it is expected that professional bodies, as well as employers, will operationalise the Alert Level 2 guidance to their local context.
ALERT LEVEL 3 UPDATE
Dietitians working within essential services continue to work as they did during Level 4.
Dietitians working in a non-DHB environment are required to provide dietetic services and care via virtual appointments. In-person appointments may be provided for urgent care only so long as dietitians can take appropriate measures to manage public health. Refer to the Decision Tree.
DHB’s will have their own set of guidelines and protocols that DHB dietitians will need to follow.
Ministry of Health Guidance for Community Allied Health Services – Letter from Dr Martin Chadwick, Chief Allied Health Professions Officer.
Urgent Care – Community Allied Health Professionals
For those of you working in the community, the Ministry of Health has advised that “urgent care” for community allied health professionals is defined as:
1. a condition which is life or limb threatening OR
2. treatment required to maintain the basic necessities of life OR
3. treatment that cannot be delayed or carried out remotely without risk of significant harm or permanent and/or significant disability
Any or all of which cannot be delivered by a service which is currently operating, or by health professionals that are already in contact with the patient.
Am I able to provide dietetic services?
Registered Dietitians can deliver telehealth services remotely at any COVID-19 Alert Level. The practitioner must maintain their ‘bubble’ by meeting virtually (not physically) with patients/clients and their whānau. At Alert Levels 3 and 4, virtual consultations are the preferred method of service delivery.
The Decision Tree will assist practitioners to determine whether a patient/client requires an in-person consultation during Alert Levels 3 and 4.
At Alert Level 4, only dietitians working within essential services are allowed to work onsite and meet with patients/clients in-person to provide urgent care.
At Alert Level 3, a broader group of dietitians are allowed to provide urgent dietetic care in-person. The Board expects dietitians to use a high level of clinical judgement when considering whether a patient/client meets the urgent care criteria for an in-person consultation and takes appropriate measures to manage public health risks.
How do I prescribe remotely?
For those of you who prescribe and are working remotely the MoH has published frequently asked questions about remote prescribing on its website. Other useful information can be found via the links provided below:
- e-prescription services
- New rules for electronic prescriptions to support virtual care in the community
- Frequently Asked Questions – Secure Messaging
- Telehealth prescribing in New Zealand
- Prescribing Flowchart
Where can I find information about providing dietetic services virtually?
Frequently Asked Questions
Information can be found HERE about the following:
- Changing between Alert Levels
- Assessing patients/clients
- Limiting transmission
- Future practice
New Zealand Government Links
Ministry of Health Links
Regional Public Health Links
Regional Public Health (Public)
Regional Public Health (Health Professionals)
Health Quality & Safety Commission
Dietitians Board Links
Dietitians New Zealand Links
ANNUAL PRACTISING CERTIFICATES (APC), REGISTRATION & OTHER APPLICATIONS
Annual Practising Declarations are undertaken through the Dietitians Login.
Please contact the office on email@example.com to establish current procedure during this lock-down period if you are applying for any of the following:
- Mutual Recognition (APD)
- Return to Practice
- Recognition of Qualifications for Overseas Trained Dietitians
- Restoration to the Register
- Cancel entry on the Register