GIMS focuses on facilities to patients, chance to build an image, say hospital officialsUpdated: Jun 26, 2020 23:55 IST
On a Thursday, the Covid-19 team at Government Institute of Medical Sciences (GIMS), Greater Noida, got an emergency message on the WhatsApp group from a very miffed patient. Apparently the patient did not prefer to eat onion and garlic on Thursdays. The team called the kitchen and got the food changed right away.
“When the patients arrive here they are often irritated, primarily because of the isolation and the effect that the pandemic has on their thought process,” said Dr Saurabh Srivastava, head of the department Medicine and nodal officer Covid-19 team at GIMS. “So they complain a lot and we understand that. Be it salt in the food, choice of food, tea timings or repeated demand for the tea or coffee, some want to live with their family members who are also infected and admitted here and so on. Our focus, apart from treating them is to provide good facilities, a hygienic environment and give them a welcoming and comfortable stay so that they go back as our goodwill ambassadors and with a change of perception associated with a government hospital.”
Doctors say they have adopted a policy to convert such situation into an opportunity to build an image that breaks the general stereotypes associated with “sarkari (government) hospital”.
GIMS began by creating a separate WhatsApp group and adding all the patients, doctors, nursing staff, service staff, and even the institute director to addresses their concerns. Another WhatsApp group of staff only discusses the patients’ issues and attempt to resolve them.
Some of the complaints, based on the WhatsApp messages, even included objections on the colour of the bedsheet, towels not being fluffy enough, specific pickle for dinner and lunch, soap and toothpaste of their choice, a shaving kit of their choice, smell of the floor wiping liquid and for some even the brand of the medicine.
But then there are positive too. Dr. Srivastava showed HT several appreciative messages from discharged patients and also a letter from one patient requesting the transfer of her Covid-19 infected husband from a private hospital in Noida.
“We will have to understand what these patients are going through.We have to be more hospitable, understand the psychology of the patient,” said Brigadier (Dr) Rakesh Gupta, director GIMS.
GIMS was the city’s first Covid facility and since its first case on March 15, it has so far successfully treated and released over 450 patients. At present, there are around 110 patients in the hospital, against 150 beds and 10 operational ventilators.
“We monitor each and every patient. Sometimes they are simply angry or scared and take it out on staff by making weird demands. But we understand their irritation from a psychiatrist’s point of view. We keep sending positive messages, videos of meditation on the WhatsApp group. With time we have seen their perception changing and many keep sending their wishes even after being discharged,” said Dr. Rahul Singh, one of the doctors on GIMS Covid-19 team.
Sharing his experience, a patients said his perception of government hospitals change with the experience.
“When I found that I was Covid-positive and would be sent to a government medical facility, my heart sunk. I was scared and angry, maybe because of my health conditions, but the behaviour of hospital staff, particularly the doctors, changed my entire perception,” said one patient who stayed for 15 days in the hospital, over the phone.
Many patients said that as a goodwill gesture they would volunteer to donate plasma if asked for.
“I came here as a scared and skeptic patient perhaps because we have heard so much bad things about the government hospitals. But my perception changed and I left GIMS making friends with many staffers there. I promised officials that I will volunteer to donate my plasma and that I am just one call away,” said another patient, released on the eighth day of her admission.
“My husband and I were very nervous upon admission at GIMS, but the staff there had been very generous to us. They ensured that we are free of fear, showed sensitivity, and made sure that our ten day-long stay at the hospital was comfortable,” said another patient from Noida.