Amrutlal Kotak (95) has been “hospitalised” for the past three weeks. But he doesn’t have to wear hospital pyjamas, eat bland food at fixed timings or wait for visiting hours to see his grandchildren.
Kotak, who is suffering from bradychardia (slow heart beat), is recuperating at home. Once his condition stabilised after a week in the Intensive Care Unit of Bombay Hospital last month, his children decided not to shift him to a hospital room.
Instead, they transformed his room in their Kandivli flat into a mini hospital by hiring an adjustable hospital bed, medical equipment such as oxygen cylinders and suction machines and keeping two full-time ward boys.
Kotak now lies in bed, listening to his favourite instrumental music, without worrying about disturbing other patients.
“He is happier and more secure at home. It is also more convenient and economical for us,” said Kotak’s daughter Daksha Tanna.
The family will spend about Rs 50,000 per month for hiring the equipment and staff. “The hospital bill for a week was more than that,” said Tanna.
The Kotaks are not alone. A growing number of families are choosing to bring the hospital home for patients with terminal illnesses, those suffering from chronic neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s and those recovering from orthopaedic and cancer surgeries. One of the main reasons is the high cost of hospitalisation. A standard bed in a private hospital in Mumbai costs Rs 2,000 upwards per night.
This means good business for hospital equipment dealers. “At least five people take beds and other equipment from us daily,” said Murtuza Gandhi, owner of Bombay Surgical Company at Girgaum.
Shashikant Seth, who set up Accurate Surgical Company in Malad 25 years ago, said the demand has escalated in the past two years.
“Earlier, most customers used to buy beds for long-term patients. These days a lot of people rent for short durations for post-operation care also.”
Ramesh Kamble (name changed), who hired a hospital bed for his father, said home care was better for the patient’s psychological well-being.
“Doctors said we could choose to take him home as no further treatment was needed. We also felt the fracture may heal faster in the comfort of home.”
Dr Gustaad Daver, director of professional services at PD Hinduja Hospital, said home care is good provided “active management” is not required and the patient gets the physiotherapy and other prescribed care.
“Home care is the future of healthcare. We are going to a see further increase in number of people choosing to recover at home because of cost and convenience. It is good as hospital beds will be freed for more critical patients,” he said.