– Dr.Praveen Raj, Director, Gem Hospitals
Gem Hospitals has been one of the trusted hospitals in Tamil Nadu delivering advanced Gastroenterology and Laparoscopy health services to patients in Coimbatore, Erode, Tirupur, Thrissur and Chennai.
The Covai Mail had a conversation with Dr. P.Praveen Raj, Director, GEM Hospitals to know how they had overcome the challenges that COVID-19 had caused in their healthcare service.
Dr.Praveen Raj said “Hospitals cannot be closed like other crowd-drawing establishments like malls and theaters due to COVID-19 . They are very essential for people. At the same time, hospitals have the responsibility to see that patients do not affect each other or the healthcare professionals. The last 2 months have been a challenge.
GEM Hospital understood this responsibility and identified the best practices followed by hospitals in abroad. We revised the Standard Operating procedures and implemented measure that could prevent everyone in the hospital from getting affected.”
Preventive Measures implemented
“In our culture, family members of admitted patients have the practice of visiting them in the hospital often. We made it a rule that only one attender stays with the patients. We have allocated a separate waiting facility for the attenders. We cut off the interaction between the Out-Patients and In-Patients completely. People in IP ward are all screened and admitted, so they must not get any exposure from Out-Patients. If we overcrowd patients inside hospital’s waiting area it would then defeat our purpose of splitting the attenders and patients. So we also limited the number of patients who should be inside.
The required strength of healthcare personnel attending one patient was also scaled up to avoid the patient’s waiting time. When patients arrive under emergency situation, they are taken to an isolation ward and treated by a dedicated team of doctors and paramedical staff. They only take care of such patients who come without any prior test reports in emergency scenario. Only after the COVID test results of these patients come as negative they are shifted to normal ward. We have made sure that the isolation ward and OP ward does not interfere with IP ward in any way”
Elective procedures could be done now
“Elective procedures were postponed when COVID-19’s threat was at its peak. Though these type of surgeries need not be rushed like emergency surgeries, they still need to be done. They were postponed because patients could stay back even without immediately undergoing the procedure. This way they can avoid the risks of getting infected and also they could save bed-space. Now that COVID-19 is almost away from our city, elective procedures could be done. They should not be delayed anymore but they should be done by adhering to proper guidelines and protocols”
Any increase in obesity cases? “People in the city were at home due to the lockdown the chance of physical exercise was mostly absent. The obesity cases would have certainly increased. If 10% could say that they have flattened their tummy, 90% of people would have increased theirs. But the weight that is recently gained weight is easy to lose if people could put their time and effort”
The Way Forward
“There has been an extensive usage of technology during COVID-19 especially for consultation. But that cannot be continued as the standard way of consulting patients. Meeting patients in person has its advantages and it assures patients a safe feeling. We learned during this COVID-19 scenario that no treatment could be claimed as the best. Allopathy has not yet found the cure for the Novel Coronavirus but at present we took age old counteractive measures like drinking hot water, taking pepper and turmeric etc. I don’t endorse all practices that are being labelled as natural cure & followed but advise to consider what seems sensible and logical. I believe that we should take a harmonious blend of tradition and allopathy. A holistic approach is what I believe in.”