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District to start home care for asymptomatic patients

The spiralling Covid-19 caseload in the state capital has at long last prompted the health department to start home care for asymptomatic patients at the earliest.

Published: 11th August 2020 06:18 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th August 2020 03:09 PM   |  A+A-

covid testing

A health worker taking nasal swab from a woman for Covid-19 test at a Public Health Laboratory and Health Care Center. (Photo | Debdatta Mallick, EPS)

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The spiralling Covid-19 caseload in the state capital has at long last prompted the health department to start home care for asymptomatic patients at the earliest. According to authorities, within days after the state government issuing an advisory for starting home care, many asymptomatic patients are requesting to be treated at home. 

It is learnt that Covid-19 positive healthcare workers in the district are already undergoing treatment at home. As per official reports, around six asymptomatic patients are under home treatment already. As of Sunday, 2,178 patients are being treated at 27 CFLTCs in the district which currently has 3,179 active cases.

District Medical Officer K S Shinu told TNIE that home care would be implemented in the district in a couple of days for which preparations are on full swing. He said the department will permit home-based care for asymptomatic patients who opt for it and especially those who satisfy all medical and social criteria required for home care. 

Over 70 per cent of cases reported in the district fall under the asymptomatic category. According to authorities, bed occupancy in CFLTCs will exceed 70 per cent soon. The recommendations of the state expert committee allow home care when the bed occupancy at CFLTCs exceeds 70 per cent.

The clinical criteria of the person requesting home care need to be assessed by the medical officer or assigned medical practitioners from the local health authority. “We have called a meeting of all medical officers in the district who will directly monitor patients who are under home care. Also, a meeting will be held with the panchayat authorities.

Patients who request for home care should get an eligibility certificate from their respective panchayat. Both the local self-government and local health authorities have a key role to play to make home care a success,” said Shinu. 

As part of the preparations, a centralised call centre would be launched at the district collectorate to manage patients under home care. The call centre is expected to start functioning in the next three days. “We haven’t finalised the control room yet. Currently, our plan is to use the war room at the collectorate for the purpose,” said an official. 

Decentralised transport for patients 
According to officials, a fool-proof transportation system is crucial for effective implementation of the home care programme for asymptomatic patients. The expert committee has recommended specially designed double-chambered vehicle for the same.

Covid-19 Jagratha portal would be used for real-time surveillance, care and support of patients under home care. If the symptoms worsen, the patient would be able to request for ambulance service through the portal. “We have already made arrangements for transportation. As many as 150 ambulances have been deployed. The Covid-19 Jagratha portal would be a one-stop platform for the public.

As per the recommendation of the medical practitioner, ambulances will be in service depending on the patient’s condition. If the patient is severe, an ambulance with the life-support system would be assigned,” said the official. The district administration has also roped in additional ambulances run by private players to meet the growing demand for patient transportation. 

Criteria for  home care
The person is Covid-19 positive by any of the confirmatory test
The patient is asymptomatic
The patient should have no major co-morbidities or uncontrolled co-morbidity of any vulnerable conditions (pregnancy, immediate postnatal, immuno-compromised)
The patient should be psychologically fit and willing for room isolation 
If the patient is a child blow 12 years of age, a parent or guardian may be allowed to jointly go into room isolation. 

Social eligibility criteria 
The house has adequate road access and communication facilities 
Facility for room isolation with attached bathroom and proper ventilation
Vulnerable individuals in the family are moved to a separate house 
Presence of healthy adult willing to cater to the patient
The family has adequate community and social support

With over 70% of Covid-19 cases being reported in the district falling under the asymptomatic category, preparations are under way to launch home treatment option from tomorrow. A centralised call centre would be launched to manage patients under home care



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