Home/ News / India/  Home healthcare services for covid patients hit amid staff shortage

NEW DELHI : Home healthcare facilities providing intensive care systems similar to hospitals have also become scarce, after the shortage of hospital beds, oxygen, medicines, and medical equipment, following the exponential rise in covid-19 cases.

The average daily covid-19 case count in India has crossed 400,000 this week, overwhelming the hospital infrastructure in the country. This has also led to several private sector hospital chains that started home healthcare facilities especially for covid-19 patients last year now withdrawing the services as there is a staff shortage at hospitals with large number of patients.

Further, the private companies providing attendants and nurses for covid-19 patients are charging as much as 5,000 per day for an attendant and 7,000 for a nurse. “There is a shortage of nurses for home healthcare services. Before covid-19 we were looking for clients to take our services but now we have so many requests for home healthcare that we don’t have nurses to be deployed at home for care. I am trying to bring nurses from Chandigarh, Rajasthan, Allahabad, Sultanpur, and Himachal Pradesh to cater to the demands of patients and people continue to wait for home healthcare. I get thousands of calls a day but I also have limited resources," said Saswat Mohanty, founder Curae Healthcare Services.

Home healthcare services have always acted as a reticent ecosystem partner, supporting the formal healthcare infrastructure and network of hospitals, according to experts.

In the pre-covid era, home healthcare services took over the responsibility of providing post-hospitalization care for patients who preferred after-care within the comfort of their homes. “In the post-covid era, when hospitals suddenly became inaccessible, the focus shifted to accessing healthcare at home. This has naturally put a strain on all resources and home healthcare services are no exception. More than equipment, which can still be bought off the shelf, the real challenge has been to augment qualified human resources such as doctors, nurses, and other paramedics," said Amol Deshmukh, founder, MedRabbits, a Pune-based home healthcare service provider.

At a time when patients are struggling to find hospital beds, companies that provide home healthcare services are tying up with hotels to cater to more covid-19 positive clients. “There has been a rapid increase in the demand for at-home services as a lot of elderly people live alone in the country and need immediate support during these trying times," said Saumyajit Roy, co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Emoha Elder Care, which has set up a 60 bed covid care centre in Gurugram.

“Healthcare infrastructure services, medicines, devices, and equipment are falling short because of an exponential increase in demand from covid-19 patients for things ranging from hospital beds to oxygen cylinders," he said. The burden of covid-19 cases is increasing continuously.

At least 366,161 new covid-19 cases were registered in the last 24 hours.

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Updated: 10 May 2021, 11:39 PM IST
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