“First, you earn money at the cost of health, later you try and get the verve back at the cost of money,” goes a proverb.
Perfect health, the most elusive of human dreams, has spawned many businesses. Take a look around, you would be peddled variations of the nirvana in the form of sugar-free sweeteners, gyms, sports equipment makers, aloe-vera makers et al.
A relatively new business is taking roots in India, that of post-hospital home healthcare, especially in case of old patients.
All of us have, at some point of time, seen people needing nurses/ general duty assistants (GDAs) at home for an aged relative after a major hospitalisaion episode. The condition demands that the patient does not need any hospitalisation per se, but will need some care and help when at home.
With modern lifestyle not allowing time for any relatives to be at the bedside of the patient till normalcy, the family is in a dilemma and usually arrangements are made with the nurses and other staff for duty at home.
“There is a business opportunity. We can help people professional manner,” says Varun Gupta, founder, Carepur India, a new firm offering post-hospitalisation healthcare.
He adds that clients for his service include NRIs, people who are living abroad but have elderly parents in the region in need of homecare.
“The idea we are selling is tensionfree health homecare for relatives of patients. Besides, we specialise in attending to patients with neurological problems, cardiological issues, etc.” adds Gupta.
What, however, does worry me is that he is not a healthcare professional himself and that could be a disadvantage. The business is organised and thus a certain category of people are automatically excluded, as it is not a mass product. People need healthcare at home for their relatives, they pay for it.
However, another important new enabler that is giving a new dimension and spin to the geriatric healthcare business is technology. NRIs, for instance, can and are regularly sent updates on the condition of their loved ones once they avail the package (a term seemingly of place) in the context of health. Use of technology is making the service more saleable.
There are other players in the segment like Dabur, so why should the tricity be interested in a new firm is a question that Carepur will have to look at carefully.
Also, there are lifestyle hurdles and barriers before I believe the business will take off.
For instance, people are more likely to demand a nurse for their patient, equating the profession to a general helper when, say a helper is needed. This wrong perception among tricity residents (especially) that a nurse will do the work of a general duty assistant (GDA) or a maid is actually one of the biggest challenges the business faces in increasing adoption of the service, admits Gupta.
Increased intervention of technology and nuclear families because of urbanisation, with elderly increasingly staying alone, seem to be the key markers for the field to grow, though the sector as such seems to be only in its infancy.