There’s no stopping to the raging fury of the second wave of COVID-19. While everyone is suffering, senior citizens are facing the most challenging time. Dr Shabnam Mir tells you how can we simplify things for them
With COVID cases on the rise again, the health infrastructure of the country is suffering. The increasing demand for hospital beds across the city, shortage of medicines, scarcity of oxygen cylinders and the resulting helplessness of patients and their caregivers called attention to the gaps in our public healthcare system.
Additionally, senior citizens being the most vulnerable community are unable to step outside due to the fear of contracting the covid virus. Most of them, living away from their children are facing issues in accessing important resources and services such as medicines, nursing care, important investigations and even daily essentials like food.
With private and public organisations across the city doing their bit in helping the ones in need, it’s essential for seniors and their caretakers to be prepared for what’s coming next? Seniors should be kept informed of the steps they can take to prevent and cure Covid infection at home itself.
Three essential steps that can enable preparedness for seniors in fighting the second wave:
Home delivery services
With the possibility of movement restrictions home delivery of medical care services is becoming essential. Home care services including pathology, nursing care, medical equipment delivery and covid care services ensure safety and ease to seniors in these tough times.
Covid nursing and attending services: Nursing Caregivers provide bedside care for the comfort and medication management. They will be with the patient at every step in the journey of recovery.
Pathology services: Home pathology and diagnostic services help to track over all health.These are focused on providing seniors with utmost convenience, reliable and advanced testing solutions through state-of-the-art and technologically advanced NABL certified lab. These include regular testing for Covid inflammatory markers e.g. D-dimer, IL 6, HS-CRP
Medical equipment delivery: The delivery of respiratory devices such as pulse oximeter, oxygen cylinders, spirometer, nebulizers, BiPAP/CPAP and oxygen concentrators helps aid recovery and wellbeing at home.
X-Ray services at home
Seniors can now get an X-Ray test done at the comfort of their home. They are advised to get their chest X-Ray in order to be informed about the extent of lung involvement in covid. These changes may remain hidden from the patient in case of a false Covid test result. Only a few players in the industry provide X-Ray services to seniors at home as it’s an unfamiliar concept. We at Antara provide all views of X-Ray and can provide the reports the same day, without worrying about any kind of delay. They no longer need to stand in long queues or change clothes ,the test which allows for a hassle-free experience along with a minimised risk of infection.
What’s the process and how is safety ensured?
Our portable machines can be easily taken to the patient’s house, and trained and certified technicians do the X-ray imaging. For the safety of the technician, AERB has laid down a dose limit for the technicians called ALARA — As low as reasonably achievable, which is measured by a TLD batch. A TLD batch is a radiation dose-measuring device and lets the technician know whether they are working within the dose limit or not. The technicians also use a lead apron, thyroid shield, and other protective gear to safeguard themselves from the radiation.
For the safety of the family, we ask attendants and other family members to vacate the room when the X-Ray is being done. The patient is exposed to a nominal radiation dose which does not cause any negative health impact. Also, since exposure is done only once or twice depending on the need, the radiation exposure to the environment is also contained.
While diagnostic tests can tell if someone was infected recently, testing for antibodies reveals whether they’ve ever been infected. These tests are a way to identify whether one has the antibodies to fight against the virus. It’s important for seniors to be informed about their immunity level at every step, to keep their health in check. This helps seniors plan their future check-ups and medicine intake better. It acts as a warning for taking the necessary next steps. Antara provides this service to seniors at home, which reduces the chances of outside exposure and hence the possibility of getting infected by the virus.
The number of queries for these services has been increasing day by day. There has been a rising demand for home care services highlighting the limited supply in hospitals and medical stores outside. Home care services help reduce pressure on hospitals and allow seniors to be prepared for Covid infection, stay up to date with their health and avail medical services without any inconvenience.
The writer is Medical Doctor, Delhi/ NCR at Antara, a company specializing in senior care