Hospitals across Mumbai are recasting cherished Diwali rituals to bring in some much needed cheer among Covid-19 patients.
For critical patients and those on oxygen support, hospitals are trying to wash away isolation blues by coming up with special Diwali menus or allowing their families to send sweets and food. Some hospitals have also deployed PPE-clad staffers to decorate isolation wards with marigold flowers.
Over 5,700 Covid-19 patients are admitted in quarantine centres and hospitals across Mumbai. Of them, over 1,200 are in intensive care units.
“We plan to discharge two of my patients on Diwali to make their homecoming special,” said intensivist Dr Rahul Pandit from Fortis hospital in Mulund.
It is not possible to do much for ICU patients, except longer video calls with families, since ICUs have high viral load and entry of relatives is risky.
Dieticians at Fortis Hiranandani hospital in Vashi are working on special Diwali menus based on dietary requirements of patients. Chakli and besan laddoos have been added to the meals.
At BKC jumbo Covid-19 facility, the 560 admitted patients will get a box of chaklis, shakkarpara and rava laddoos. Laxmi Puja will be also organised on Saturday for the staffers. “Relatives of many patients send lunch boxes. We have told them to send whatever they want,” said Dean Dr Rajesh Dere.
At S L Raheja hospital, lanterns and fairy lights adorn isolation wards. There are 37 Covid-19 patients in the hospital, most critical and in need for oxygen support. “Some relatives asked us if they can send homemade sweets. We are allowing it for patients who do not have diabetes,” said Medical Director Dr Hiren Ambegaonkar. The lunch and dinner for patients will include vegetable biryani, paratha, raita, crispy potatoes and motichoor laddoos. The diabetic will be given rajgira halwa, chakli and capsicum paneer bhurji.
At Hiranandani hospital in Powai, a special menu has been prepared, and patients will be allowed to have longer video calls with their families. “A moderate Diwali celebration is being planned. However, our doctors, nurses and other staffers assigned to Covid-19 wards are not participating in the celebrations,” said CEO Dr Sujit Chatterjee.
However, not all hospitals are celebrating Diwali.
Dr Balkrishna Adsul, in charge in Seven Hills hospital, said with the entire hospital full of Covid patients, it is a risk to even allow the entry of relatives in hospital premises. “We have not preponed the discharge of any patient because we have to follow the isolation protocol. But those fit have already been discharged so that they can celebrate Diwali at home.”
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