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Home health care services on rise in pandemic: Experts

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Pune, Jan 25: The COVID-19 pandemic has not only forced many professionals to work from home, but also pushed people suffering from various ailments to opt for home health care services instead of going to hospitals for treatment.

This is just a beginning and the home health care system has a lot to offer in future, say experts.

Home health care services on rise in pandemic: Experts

Patients who have to undergo dialysis, physiotherapy and chemotherapy are preferring health care services at home and many are also taking telemedicine consultations, they say.

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Talking to PTI, Dr Avinash Ignatius, a nephrologist and transplant physician at a well-known Pune-based hospital, said those suffering from kidney-related problems now have an option of "peritoneal dialysis" which can be done at home.

"In this case, a hemodialysis machine along with all support systems is installed at home. A dialysis technician goes there and does the patient's dialysis," he said.

He said tele-consultation with doctors is also picking up among those suffering from chronic kidney ailments.

"Medical instruments like automated blood pressure monitors, weighing scales, pulse oximeter are now available at home. Those who have recently undergone kidney transplants need not come to visit a hospital for frequent follow-ups.

"By using these instruments at home, they can inform about their health condition to the doctor," he said.

City resident Sudha Shrivastava, 68, has recently started taking dialysis at home and she finds it more comfortable than going to hospital every time.

"In the last six months, I have visited hospital only once. I have got the entire set up of home dialysis. I inform my doctor about health condition via tele-consultation," she said.

"Taking dialysis at home has been comfortable and less risky in recent times when hospitals were seeing an influx COVID-19 patients," she added.

Oncologist Minish Jain, who offers consultation at various hospitals in Pune, said taking chemotherapy at home is still not popular in India.

But, in certain kind of cancers, treatments and chemotherapy can be given at home, he said.

"In this pandemic time, people are afraid to visit hospitals and those who can afford, have started taking chemotherapy at home," he said.

But, hospital stay is still cheaper in India compared to taking the treatment at home. So, home health care is being preferred only by those who can afford it, he added.

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    Dr Ajay Kothari, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at a private hospital here, said patients are now preferring robotic and non-invasive surgeries as these require less hospital stay, hence chances of contracting COVID-19 infection (due to frequent visits outside) are also less.

    "During the lockdown, when people suffering from chronic orthopaedic issues were not able to visit hospital, home-based physiotherapy services helped them a lot," said Rupal Sancheti, the director of a home-based physiotherapy start-up.

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