Phone calls, chit-chat: How a Delhi Govt hospital is helping patients to fight COVID-19
The senior doctors at RGSSH said measures such as phone calls might appear to be very innocuous but in many cases patients lose hope not due to COVID but because of the terrible sense of loneliness that comes with staying in isolation.
For a person infected with COVID-19, the deadly virus also brings with it an unbearable feeling of isolation. A Delhi hospital is helping its coronavirus patients in not only fighting the disease but also the accompanying loneliness with phone calls and a bit of chit-chat.
At Delhi government’s Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital (RGSSH), doctors and nurses regularly interact with patients, making sure "they don't lost touch with life" in the time of social distancing and quarantined existence.
"We call this project 'reaching out to the unreached' and it started about one-and-a-half months ago. The idea was to help the patients deal with isolation while under treatment and also get feedback from them to improve our patient care system," Director, RGSSH, Dr B L Sherwal told PTI on Sunday.
RGSSH, located in East Delhi, has been treating pandemic-affected patients since March. The facility only admits serious coronavirus patients.
"As part of this initiative, a team of doctors and nurses regularly calls patients in isolation wards to check on them and enquire about their general well-being. They also share their stories with us," Sherwal said.
The senior doctor says a phone call may appear to be very innocuous but in many cases patients lose hope not because of the disease but the terrible sense of loneliness that comes with staying in isolation.
"Once I spoke to an old man and he told us he had no one to go to in Delhi, and requested that we allow him to stay a bit longer after treatment. We managed an arrangement for him in the non-COVID area for some time to help him. Loneliness also kills, you see," Sherwal said, recalling his interaction with patients.
Asked what motivated them to come up with the system, Sherwal said the genesis of this was the social media posts being made during the Tablighi Jamaat episode, when a large number of its members were brought to the facility from the Nizamuddin area.
"A normal person behaves in a different manner during isolation. Many social media videos had been put up during that time showing the wards. We took it up in two ways, as an impulse to go for course correction if any gaps are found in our system, and also to counter the allegations made in the videos," he said.
Soon the facility will discharge its 1000th patient after successful recovery from COVID-19.
Three days back, a 65-year-old American woman, who was diagnosed with COVID-19, was discharged from the RGSSH after successfully recovery.
"Thank you everyone from the bottom of my heart and everyone at Rajiv Gandhi hospital for the amazing service. Your expertise and techniques saved my life," she had said.
"A patient-doctor relationship is very different. Though in the initial days, doctors and nurses were scared to go near patients, now they are all helping them recover," Sherwal said. Perhaps because unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures, he said.