As the Covid-19 cases rise in Pune, experts said there will be a need for a better planning and management of the healthcare personnel to ensure that there is no shortage.
According to Dr Kapil Zirpe, head of the department of neurocritical care at Ruby Hall Clinic, there is usually requirement of two intensivists and minimum of seven nurses for a 15-bedded ICU. However for the Covid care ICU, we have tried to utilise supportive staff to assist senior doctors and at least two to three trained ICU nurses. “In case there is a surge in cases, we can depute our key doctors and nurses on rotation,” Dr Zirpe said.
According to Jehangir hospital medical director Dr S S Gill, in the Western countries there has been a focus on ICU management of Covid-19 cases. “So far, we are getting mild and moderate cases and while intensivists are monitoring the critical care patients, the backbone of any health care set up is the nursing and housekeeping staff, who also take care of the non-critical Covid patients,” Dr Gill said.
Dr H K Sale, executive director at Noble hospital, which has dedicated 80 beds for Covid patients, said a minimum of 25 nurses are required daily in four-hour shifts. “As they are taking care of Covid-19 patients, the nurses are staying at hostels and if some turn positive then several have to be quarantined. So we have to take on a lot of planning to ensure that there is enough healthcare personnel to meet patients’ needs,” he said.
At Sassoon General Hospital, after getting 75 private doctors to treat critically ill Covid-19 patients in the ICU in the last one and a half months, authorities are now planning to issue an advertisement to hire 70 doctors, including intensivists, MD physicians and others on a contract basis.
So far, there are 37 intensivists, four anaesthetists and 34 physicians from private hospitals, who have been deputed in rotation for the last one and a half months.
At another dedicated Covid care Symbiosis hospital, there are only eight intensivists. They have asked for more but still waiting. “There are 500 beds and the ten ICU beds can be enhanced to 30 but there are few intensivists. There are 150 doctors and 200 nurses. But the demand is also for critical care physicians to handle the Covid-19 patients in the ICU set up,” said Vijay Natarajan, of Symbiosis hospital. “We have a core group of eight intensivists and hence so far using only 10 ICU beds when we have a potential of using another 20 more in the ICU,” he said.
Dr Sanjay Lalwani, medical director at Bharati hospital, which has also been identified by the Pune Municipal Corporation as a dedicated Covid care hospital, said, “There is going to be a surge in the coming weeks and it is likely to strain critical care resources as several Covid-19 patients require mechanical ventilation in the ICU.”
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