HUBBALLI: The Dharwad Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (DIMHANS) has come up with tele psychotherapy for COVID-19 patients who are getting treatment under home isolation. The facility is the first of its kind in the state.
There are nearly 1,000 COVID-19 patients in Dharwad district, mainly in Hubballi and Dharwad cities, who are getting treatment in their homes. As soon as the government gave the nod for it, many asymptomatic patients here have opted for treatment in their homes.
Those who are undergoing treatment in their homes have been facing social stigma, discrimination by family members and other issues, pushing them into depression. Sitting idle during the treatment period also leads to psychological problems. To help such patients, DIMHANS has come up with the tele psychotherapy facility, wherein doctors and experts make phone calls to patients and counsel them.
The district administration has provided eight new landline connections, through which a team of 12 staff of DIMHANS is making phone calls to patients. The administration has given a list of 620 patients who are under home isolation. The teletherapy facility was launched three days ago and the team has already called around 450 patients and counselled them.
DIMHANS director Dr Mahesh Desai said, "Staff of the clinical psychology, psychiatric social work and psychiatric nursing department of the institute have been deployed for tele psychotherapy work. Two staff and two postgraduate students from each department will counsel home-isolated COVID-19 patients from 9 am to 4 pm daily."
“Apart from helplines, the hospital has also started therapy, which is getting good response. After counselling, experts will explain to patients the need for maintaining physical distancing from other family members and hygiene, besides giving tips on relaxation techniques, including exercises,” he said.
Dr Kannappa Shetty was appointed the nodal officer of the tele psychotherapy facility and he has been coordinating with the district administration and the counselling team. There are instances of doctors of hospitals sending phone numbers of patients suffering from depression.
DIMHANS is getting around 20-25 phone calls to its helpline and has been making around 150 calls to patients.