Healthcare in India: What Money Can't Buy

Vaibhav Tewari, COO, Portea MedicalHeadquartered in Bangalore, Portea Medical is one of India's pioneer home healthcare providers offering world-class services in Physiotherapy, Doctor Consultations, Nursing, Counselling Lab Tests and many more at comfort of your home.

Not many of us can forget the old Master card advertisement about things money can't buy. Though times have changed, there are still some things, which your wallet alone cannot procure, and good health is one of them. The middle class has been able to raise its economic status by several notches, and today they can afford most things their parents couldn't. Health insurance was an uncommon concept in the previous generation, but now most urban working couples can afford to secure themselves and their dependents in case of medical adversities. Thus, we can conclude that money can actually buy quality healthcare. But does healthcare include only high insurance coverage, sophisticated equipment, imported medicines and a luxurious suite at a fancy hospital?

Where is the Care Continuum?
The healthcare industry has grown by leaps & bounds in recent times. Well-equipped hospitals across the country help patients recuperate from various illnesses by providing quality services. However, the fact that these establishments are becoming overburdened with a rise in the number of people with non-communicable diseases and other conditions also cannot be ignored. This is where home healthcare can play a major role. Effective home-based care can not only bring-down the cost of medical treatment in some cases, but also help hospitals in rendering their services to those who need it more.

Need for Home Care & Trained Nurses
Having a trustworthy and a trained healthcare professional taking care of your parent's health at home is a blessing in many ways. Since, there is a lack of trained attendants, nurses or caregivers, the needs of patients requiring home care such as recovering patients, individuals with mental disorders, and the elderly who do not want to leave the comfort of their home are heavily compromised.
This is where a league of innovative startups are breathing a fresh lease of life into the home care segment. Where there is a dearth of standardized and affordable home healthcare, they have built an organized network of trained professionals who promise to deliver quality care and assistance. Specialized medical service professionals, paramedics, physiotherapists, nutrition experts, counsellors and trained day-care nurses can make a big difference and fill the gap in the relationship between the patient and doctor. In case of patients, who do not need active monitoring by a doctor, nursing attendants can offer specialized care. Specific services offered range from post-operative care, geriatric care, and home assistance for dementia patients, bedridden patients, and oncology care. These in-home trained nurses and attendants can provide holistic care and support to patients and take care of their daily personal needs as well.

Home Care for Elderly
This includes training individuals to handle specific medical conditions related to the aged and also paying attention to their emotional and psychological needs. These home care professionals can also alleviate the loneliness that elderly patients face, helping them cope with or even overcome depression.

Effective home-based care can not only bring-down the cost of medical treatment in some cases, but also help hospitals in rendering their services to those who need it more

Mother & New Born Care
Nurses trained in infant and mother care are taught to deal with post-partum depression and trained in breastfeeding techniques and baby handling and bathing. They can also help the mother with their housekeeping work in the absence of family support.

In case of a wheelchair-bound patient, trained nurses can help them in moving around the house, assist in personal grooming, and in monitoring their vitals regularly. In case of severely immobilized or bedridden patients, trained assistants can help change their position, feed them, change diapers, and offer round-the-clock monitoring assistance.

Chronic Disease Management
This includes assistants trained in the management of chronic diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease by offering regular home step services to monitor sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure and other parameters as required.

Palliative Care
Often terminally ill patients are the most neglected in terms of care and compassion due to the special care they require. Trained nurses can not only assist palliative care for such patients, but also help combat the emotional trauma of the family.

Despite being in its infancy, the home healthcare industry is growing at a rapid pace of 20 percent CAGR per year. While patient care is one part of healthcare, we also need to address the health professionals and their emotional well-being rather than expect them to deal with every situation heroically. One way is to create a space for reflection and experience-sharing at work. At the same time, medical education should also encompass relational and interpersonal practice. This will help in restoring the tenets of care and compassion without which money can only buy facilities and not healthcare as such.