In view of anticipation of facing a shortage of beds at private hospitals in the coming days, especially for critical patients, hospitals and nursing homes in Ahmedabad have come up with a home care plan for Covid-19 patients with mild to moderate symptoms.
Nearly 35 private hospitals and nursing homes in the city have agreed to offer chargeable home care services, even as seven hospitals launched the service on Tuesday. These include Shalby Hospital at SG Highway, HCG Hospital in Navrangpura, Star Hospital in Bapunagar, Tapan Hospital in Satellite area and Bapunagar, Saviour Hospital in Navrangpura and Dhvani Hospital.
After a nod was received from the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) in this regard, the upper limit for the service has been fixed at Rs 699 per day. This will include a teleconsultation or a physical consultation by the physician, daily teleconsultation with a qualified nurse, a physical visit after five days, teleconsultation by a physician at the time of discharge from home care and written advice to be followed by the patient post discharge.
“The home care service will be availed by a patient only on the advice of a physician. This is considering the fact that 80-85 percent patients have mild to moderate symptoms for which hospitalisation is not required. Those above 60 years of age and with comorbid conditions will not be advised home care,” said president of Ahmedabad Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association (AHNA), Dr Bharat Gadhavi.
However, hinting that nearly 20 per cent Covid-19 patients presently admitted at private hospitals can be treated at home, Dr Gadhavi said that if that 1,300 beds presently occupied under AHNA are considered, around 200 patients can be treated at home.
50 percent of nearly 35 hospitals under AHNA are reserved for patients referred by the AMC.
“With the daily increase in cases reported from the city, availability of beds is becoming a challenge. This scheme will help prepare for the future,” he added. The duration of home care fixed by hospitals is a minimum period of ten days.
Joint secretary at AHNA, Dr Jigar Shah said, “This will also address the panic and stress of getting admitted to a hospital among patients once they test positive.”
Other services included in the home care package include preparation of a Covid care plan and protocol, education and training of vital monitoring charts, home quarantine guidelines and teleconsultation by a dietitian,
However, patients will have to bear additional charges for any service or equipment besides these, including a basic Covid care kit. Equipment such as suction machine, multipara monitor, oxygen cylinder and flow meter will also be provisioned at additional costs.
The AMC Tuesday dropped the idea of launching a phone application for Covid-19 patients, just a couple of days before its scheduled launch.
The much-anticipated app was aimed to address queries about availability of beds in 45 private hospitals requisitioned by the AMC.
AMC sources revealed that the failure to manage data of all the hospitals on a real-time basis was among the reasons for dropping the app idea. “There were differences in data. The civic body feels that the information on reserved beds under AMC’s 50% quota should not be carried. At the same time, it cannot take responsibility for the information shared by private hospitals,” said an AMC official.
The app was to provide information on the availability of beds and home care services of each private hospital, along with package details of rooms and other charges. It was to also include the facility to call an ambulance. To be run jointly by AHNA and AMC, the app was expected to be launched this week, Dr Bharat Gadhavi, president of AHNA, had earlier said.
At present, the AHNA website provides information on beds. It is updated twice a day; at times, only once a day. The facility was made available three days ago and has a break-up of isolation beds, High Dependency Units (HDUs), Intensive Care Units (ICUs) without ventilators and with ventilators — of both occupied and vacant beds. With the idea for the app dropped, this will be the only source of information on availability of beds.
Incidents where patients have had to run from one Covid-19 hospital to another, in the absence of real-time information on the availability of beds, have been reported recently, as have complaints against private hospitals for refusing to admit patients citing non-availability of beds.