It is with cautious optimism that we follow the evolving COVID-19 pandemic and the containment within Australia and New Zealand following the decisive actions by our respective governments. The information and images emanating from North America, the United Kingdom and Europe are gut wrenching and our thoughts are with those patients, families and our colleagues courageously working to save lives under such challenging circumstances.
Despite the encouraging control to date locally, we in the Australian and New Zealand critical care community, will not become complacent and will continue to prepare for the very real challenges that may well face us as we advance in the COVID-19 Pandemic. In this regard, it is a great pleasure to introduce the latest iteration of the ANZICS COVID-19 Guidelines. It is a remarkable achievement, that through the tireless efforts of our working group, led so effectively by the editorial group, that less than a month after the release of our first guidelines, an updated version has been generated.
Version 2 of the guidelines are uniquely contemporaneous, literally providing the most recent evidence and expert opinion. The Guidelines will continue to provide a reliable and an easily accessible source of expert opinion and current best evidence to assist in managing the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia and New Zealand. The revision is the result of the dedicated work of over 50 contributors and collaboration with the College of Intensive Care Medicine and the Australian College of Critical Care Nurses.
The Guidelines follow several major themes that provide information for the critical care practitioner in preparing and providing care for the COVID-19 pandemic. The ‘Pandemic Planning’ section now includes guidance on both rural ICU strategy and rapid response teams. While the ‘Staff Safety and Sustainability’ section considers the important issue of staff wellbeing. The ‘Treatment’ section will now provide the reader with a link to the COVID-19 living guidelines (severe to critical section): https://covid19evidence.net.au/ . These Guidelines have had significant involvement from ANZICS members in their development and are fully endorsed by ANZICS.
We have adopted a pragmatic approach to ensure that our critical care community has easy access to current, appropriate, reliable and regionally relevant information. We will continue to acknowledge that as we gain experience in dealing with this pandemic, it may be necessary to deliver further iterations of these guidelines. ANZICS will continue, in every possible way, to support our critical care community as we advance into this uncharted territory with the only certainty being the emotional and physical fatigue facing the critical care workforce. This is the time to stand together and serve our communities.
Dr Anthony Holley