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Health care, home-delivered

For 82-year-old TV Krishnankutty Wariar, tending to his leg, which was recently operated upon for a skin infection, no longer means a long trek to the hospital.

mumbai Updated: May 04, 2011 01:04 IST
Sonal Shukla

For 82-year-old TV Krishnankutty Wariar, tending to his leg, which was recently operated upon for a skin infection, no longer means a long trek to the hospital.

On alternate days, a nurse from Dr LH Hiranandani Hospital visits his Chandivli home to change the dressings.

Wariar suffered from cellulites, a skin infection, on his right leg and underwent surgery in February at Dr LH Hiranandani Hospital, Powai.

After being discharged, Wariar was worried that he would have to shuttle between his home and the hospital for post-operative care.

However, when the hospital offered him the option of 'home care', he was relieved.

"It is very comfortable for me, given my age," said Wariar, who doesn't mind paying the Rs 250 fee per home visit of the medical staff.

Wariar's daughter-in-law, Ruby, too is pleased with the arrangement.

"Home health care is especially convenient for the elderly," she said.

Home health care - also called domiciliary care - is supportive care provided by medical professionals to patients in the comfort of the patients' homes.

The concept is gaining popularity, especially with the elderly for whom the commute to a hospital is cumbersome.

The rising costs of hospital stay are also spurring the trend.

When Mazgaon resident Sanjeev Shringarpure's daughter Purva, 17, developed a respiratory problem and suffered convulsions, she was admitted to a private hospital's intensive care unit for more than 20 days.

"We are middle-class people and the cost of hospitalisation was becoming unaffordable," said the 47-year-old employee of Mumbai Port Trust.

When he shared his concerns with doctors, they suggested home care. Shringarpure hired a hospital bed and other equipment to monitor Purva's health at home.

"We also hired two trained nurses from a nursing bureau. They take care of her round-the-clock," said Shringarpure.

"The cost of treatment has reduced considerably and it is much more convenient to look after her now."

The increased popularity of the concept has prompted Dr LH Hiranandani Hospital, which started home health care in 2004 on a small scale, to expand its reach. In 2004, the hospital provided home care for 486 procedures. This figure grew to 8,799 in 2010.

"Due to increased demand, we plan to extend home care till Bhandup and Vikhroli," said Saly Suseel, the hospital's deputy director (nursing). The hospital provides services such as nursing care, doctor's visit, physiotherapy and sample collection services for laboratory tests.

Increased preference for home health care has also translated into more demand for hospital equipment available on rent.

"We rent out medical equipment such as the fowler's hospital bed, air bed and suction machines. In the last two years, there has been at least a 50% increase in patients asking for home health care products," said Murtaza Gandhi, owner of Bombay Surgical Company at Girgaum.

Gandhi said his clientele has grown from 15 a month two years ago to around 30 now. He added that his clientele includes those who are terminally ill.