New Delhi: With medical centres running out of beds, and patients being turned away from hospitals doorsteps, people have started creating ICUs and isolation wards at home and in housing societies now. Those who can afford have started stocking up medical equipment like oxygen cylinders, oxymeters and portable ventilators in Delhi while many are arranging for medical facilities at by the new services that has been started by several agencies and hospitals in view of novel coronavirus pandemic in the country.
Since “Cure from Home” is the new strategy of state governments in view of acute shortage of beds and overload on healthcare systems, novel coronavirus patients who are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms have to stay at home after being detected positive. They have to rush to hospital only if there is an acute breathing problem or any other complication.
However, panic has struck people so much that no one wants to take a chance and several have started creating their own isolation units at home with critical care systems.
A representative of Apollo Hospital in Delhi said that essential equipment like oxymetres and oxygen cylinders have all been hired by people by paying rents for months together in advance. Apollo rents oxygen cylinder for Rs 3000 a month. In the absence of rented cylinder, people have also started buying it at the rate of Rs 11,000 a piece.
Many healthcare groups are taking advance booking of about 1.5 lakh to set up ICUs in just 4 hours at home and provide nurse to take care of patients. Some private hospitals have come up with special home care packages for COVID-19 patients and are doing good business.
An executive of Delhi’s Max Hospital, that recently started its “Home Isolation Care” services for COVID, said the demand is increasing as people want to be under guidance of doctors and want tele-consultations regularly.
Another group -- Health Care at Home -- started this service only after COVID outbreak and on a daily basis 35 to 40 persons are booking for remote care packages that includes psychological counseling, 24x7 caregiver at home, delivery of medicines and regular monitoring of health parameters.
HDU Healthcare that has expertise in setting up ICU facilities at homes is on a daily basis, for the last ten days, setting up about 200 ICU units at homes in Delhi and NCR. These are all for patients who have already tested positive and many have co-morbid conditions.
“At this rate of demand we have capacity to set up ICU units for another 8-10 days only now,” said HDU’s COO Ambrish Mishra. The company, pre-COVID days, on an average used to set up 2-3 units per day under home care.
Several Resident Welfare Associations and group housing societies too are setting up isolation centres in their community rooms or empty flats to handle large scale outbreak in their premises. “We are setting up units for RWAs etc too,” Mishra said.
After several videos of patients dying due to lack of medical care and facilities in hospitals surfaced many do not want to go to hospitals. “You lose only time and energy running from pillar to post to get a bed. Better to create that facility at home if you can afford,” said a doctor.