The city which hosts more than 50,000 elderly people, has failed to provide efficient health services to its senior citizens. In the absence of any geriatric ward in city based government hospitals, the elderly patients are struggling to get dignified health facilities.
There is not even a single geriatric specialist posted in the government hospitals and even the clinics are run ineffectively.
“The plan to start up a geriatric ward is at the preliminary stage. It will only be only possible, after we get a place adjoining PGI. We have written for the same and the matter is pending with the UT Administration. We are waiting for the approval,” Dr YK Chawla, Director, PGI said.
Talking about the facilities which the geriatric ward will have, the director said, “there will be a separate Geriatric ward on the ground floor of the new Multi-Speciality building. Once the ward is constructed, we will provide all the facilities and additional staff will be recruited.”
He also said that at present the geriatrics clinic, which is being run by PGI is not very active.
The condition of geriatrics clinic in GMCH-32 is also similar, which has only one doctor to look after it.
“Daily on an average, 50 elderly patients visit the geriatrics clinic, where one doctor is always present. He examine the patients and refer them to other departments. To make the clinic more effective, we need a separate ward and more number of specialists including physiotherapists, three-four more doctors, consultants,” said a consultant from GMCH-32.
The daily OPD of various departments at GMCH-32 constitutes 40-50 per cent of elderly citizens.
“They have hearing, vision and dental problems which interfere with communication, mobility. They have tendency to fall due to neurologic problems and muscle weakness. Some of them also suffer from depression as they do not have any social support,” the doctor said.
Earlier, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had formulated a ‘National Programme for the Health Care of Elderly’ (NPHCE) during the 11th plan period. Under this, it was mandatory for all district level hospitals to have established Geriatric ward for elderly patients.