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Asymptomatic patients opt out of home care, fear stigma

However, according to officials, even healthcare workers are requesting for institutional care over home isolation.

Published: 02nd September 2020 05:09 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd September 2020 05:09 AM   |  A+A-

COVID samples

A health worker holds samples collected from construction workers for COVID-19 test via rapid antigen testing. (File Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: While authorities say people must understand that this is the only option as Covid-19 caseload increases rapidly, office-bearers of residents’ associations say the  government must educate public rather than adding to their fear

The efforts of the district authorities to promote home treatment for asymptomatic Covid-19 patients is facing a major hurdle with many hesitating to opt for the same fearing social stigma and ostracisation. Residents’ associations of various apartment complexes have expressed their opposition to home care citing the risk of others getting infected from the patients. While the district gave a go-ahead to home isolation of Covid-19 positive healthcare workers nearly a month back, the District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) issued an SOP (standing operating procedure) for starting home care for Covid-19 patients last week. 

However, according to officials, even healthcare workers are requesting for institutional care over home isolation. In the wake of this development, officials claim it’s impossible to run too many CFLTCs as the case load multiples rapidly. As of Monday, while there are over 5,000 active cases in the capital district, around 500 people are under home care.According to District Medical Officer K S Shinu, although the response to home care programme has been good, the health department is receiving a number of complaints against it from especially rural areas and residents of apartment complexes. 

“The case load is going up and we have to reserve existing medical infrastructure for those who really need it. Home care is the only way to deal with the crisis. We need the support of the public for the same,” said Shinu. He added that asymptomatic patients only need proper monitoring and rest. “The public should change its attitude and realise that that they will contract the infection only if they roam around unprotected and don’t follow Covid-19 guidelines. Our aim is to bring at least 50 per cent of the asymptomatic patients under home care in the coming days.” The authorities have opened a call centre at the District War Room for managing patients under home care.  

In a recent incident, an office-bearer of the residents’ association of a premium apartment complex was forced to seek police intervention after a few residents raised objection to a person from another state undergoing quarantine at one of the flats in the building. “Around 15 of the 50 apartment units in our complex are lying vacant and we arranged quarantine for a family member of a resident who came from Bengaluru. A few residents raised objection and I had to call the police.

The issue was only resolved after the police arrived,” said Sreekumara Menon, president of the residents’ association located in Paruthipara Working president of the State Apartment Owners’ Apex Association C S Vinod said the govenrment should start campaigns to prepare the society to live with the pandemic. He added that people residing in compact spaces cannot avoid common areas and having fear if a Covid-19 patient undergoes home treatment in such a building is quite natural. “A large section of the people residing in highrise buildings are elderly and they get scared when the neighbours are under isolation. We have to educate them on how to protect themselves from contracting the disease,” said Vinod.

IN A NUTSHELL
While the district gave a go-ahead to home isolation of Covid-19 positive healthcare workers nearly a month back, the District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) issued an SOP (standing operating procedure) for starting home care for Covid-19 patients last week. However, according to officials, even healthcare workers are requesting for institutional care over home isolation.

SOP issued by DDMA for home isolation

Only asymptomatic patients are eligible for home care 
A written request for permission to remain in home isolation sought from the patient along with a self-declaration. 
Clinical assessment for co-morbidities by medical or nodal officer.
Only patients who are psychologically stable will be eligible for home isolation. 

 The patient can undergo home isolation in a residential building of his or her choice with an 
attached toilet, road connectivity, phone connectivity and good community support mechanism.
All other members residing in the same house shall remain in strict home quarantine.

Self monitoring of symptoms and regular updates to the medical officer.
The patient and care giver must use three layer masks during interaction. 

Antigen or RT-PCR shall be performed on day 10. If the test proves negative, seven days of further test is advised.

Helpline numbers  for patients in home care  0471-2733433 / 1077 



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