The COVID caseload in government hospitals in Ahmedabad has gone down to 21 per cent of their capacity ever since the state government started roping in private hospitals for treating people infected with the virus, according to officials.
A senior official at Ahmedabad Civil Hospital, Gujarat’s largest dedicated COVID care facility, attributed the shift to people developing “immunity” and increased awareness.
Against a capacity of nearly 3,300 beds at the six government-run Covid-19 hospitals in Ahmedabad, they are down to less than one-fourth of their strength, with only 700 active patients. However, 2,005 Covid-19 patients are undergoing treatment in private hospitals at present.
On June 8, Ahmedabad Civil Hospital in Asarwa had only 240 patients against a capacity of 1,200, whereas the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation-run SVP Hospital had only 270 patients against its capacity of 1,000 beds. Another 670 asymptomatic and mild to moderately symptomatic Covid-19 patients were at government and private-run home care and isolation centres.
Of them, 320 were under isolation and nearly 240 were in home care facilities run by around 10 private hospitals and critical care specialists, mostly in the western part of the city. Since its launch on June 16, home care facilities have already got 240 takers.
“As the residents have developed immunity against coronavirus, the number of cases has declined… Also, awareness among residents for home care has increased manifold. They prefer treatment at home than at hospitals,” Dr MM Prabhakar, Officer on Special Duty (OSD) of Covid-19 hospital at Civil Hospital, Asarwa, said.
People under home care that The Indian Express spoke to said they preferred this arrangement over hospitals as it was not only affordable but family support helped heal faster.
“I would advise patients with mild symptoms to go for home care as you will get moral support from family… It will help us recover faster clinically and emotionally as well,” said 46-year-old businessman, Ritesh Brahmbhatt, who has been under home care for two days with one of the private hospitals.
Brahmbhatt said when he tested positive at a private laboratory, he was upset at the thought of getting admitted to a hospital. “Then the hospital staff briefed me about home care facility which put half the burden off my chest,” added Brahmbhatt whose only symptoms were loss of taste and smell.
Ahmedabad Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association (AHNA) president Dr Bharat Gadhavi said, “Patients who do not have comorbidity and are below 60 years are advised to go for home care facility. This includes teleconsultation and in-person consultation with a physician. This facility has received a good response so far.” AHNA launched the facility after nod from the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC).
The AMC too launched a similar initiative on Monday — ‘Corona Ghar Seva (home service): Sanjivani Van’, where home care service for asymptomatic patients under home isolation is provided by a team of paramedics deployed at each Urban Health Centre (UHC), without any charges.
Each paramedic team visits 10 patients under home isolation every day and check their vitals and also provide necessary medicines. One doctor is deputed to oversee 10 such teams who then visit patients. The service was launched with 150 paramedic staff and 10 doctors.
Parag Khatri (47) and his wife Dipali (46), who have been under home care for over one week under a private hospital, said, “This is better than getting admitted to a hospital. The response of hospital staff is very encouraging… they visited us twice in eight days.”
Different packages are offered by 10 private hospitals with a maximum cap of Rs 699 where patients are offered teleconsultation as well as video calling facility from the hospital staff on a daily basis while the patients share their vital records including blood pressure, blood oxygen saturation level and temperature every four hours.
“My family of five, including my parents who are 68 and 73 years old, has been put under home quarantine… We have a comparatively larger house with four rooms. I have isolated myself in one of the rooms but I know my family is there with me at any hour of the day,” said Ritesh.
Other services are offered in home care package, including teleconsultation by a dietician and equipment such as oxygen cylinder, at additional charges.
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