Home healthcare: Easy, affordable service for busy Indians
Ashok Gupta, 85, is a heart patient, a diabetic and suffers from hypertension. He hardly ventures out of his Delhi home. His only son lives in the US and there are no relatives in town to take care of his medical needs.
Zoom over to 10-year old Arvind Venkatesh in Chennai, who broke his leg in a freak accident and needs physiotherapy for proper healing.
What these two patients – living in two different Indian cities – have in common is that they are getting the much-needed healthcare they need right at their doorsteps.
Medical help at home has now become an easy and affordable service for the growing middle-class Indians who would rather stay at home and avail the best of services than go to either private hospitals or queue up at government hospitals.
Many companies like Health Care at Home India, India Home Health Care (IHHC) and Portea Medical have come up to provide all kinds of medical services from oncology to cardiac care to psychological and neurological problems at your doorstep.
Healthcare providers said the cost of the packages would vary as these were tailor-made for individual patients and depended on the kind of treatment and the period involved.
Even setting up an ICU at home is now possible.
India Home Health Care president Anitha (one name) said: “We are an independent service provider focussed on taking care of the patient at home through nursing, general care-taking, physical therapy and speech therapy.”
The company operates out of Chennai and Bangalore.
“Depending on the medical needs of the patient and the family, IHHC provides a range of standard services from doctor’s visits to continuous patient care with highly trained staff,” Anitha said on the phone from Bangalore.
In addition, her company also has specialised staff that can provide targeted care for patients suffering from orthopedic, cardiac,psychological, neurological, respiratory and diabetic ailments.
Questioned as to the age group of patients who opt for such services,she said: “We cater to all age groups under various care packages designed for various needs of the patients starting from new born care to geriatric care for senior citizens.
“Our service also covers maternal care, post-surgical care that caters to anyone recovering from a surgery, palliative care and the like,” she said, adding: “So our service is not restricted to any particular age group and we are able to extend our service to all age groups”.
In 2013, US-based Home Health major BAYADA home health care invested in IHHC and is driving the growth of the home health market in India.
The home healthcare trend has been very popular abroad and has been fast catching up in India, says Vivek Srivastava, CEO of Healthcare at Home India.
Increase in the elderly population, rising incidents of chronic diseases, an overall change in lifestyle and increasing affordability are driving this industry, Srivastava said.
According to Srivastava, though his company offers a range of services like post-operative care, physiotherapy and nursing services, its focus is on home oncology and chemotherapy for cancer patients.
“We also set up Intensive Care Units at home and even provide facilities of ventilators,” he said.
The section which is fast expanding in India is providing elderly care at home, Srivastava said.
He said though the company was launched in April 2013, it already has operational branches in Chandigarh and Jaipur.
“We offer silver, gold and other packages under which a range of services are provided for various age groups,” he added.
The packages for the elderly cost Rs. 10,000-Rs 20,000 per year,which is cheaper than hospital visits for these same services.
These include doctor visits every month and special needs like blood tests.
Portea healthcare, which has centres all over the country, provides services like physiotherapy at as low as Rs. 600 per session.
Said Srivastava: “In fact all the facilities offered by the company are 70-80 percent cheaper than that in hospitals”.
Each and every data of patients is recorded electronically and the nursing services offered are of a very high quality, he added.
“There is a six-week training programme for nurses,” he said.
Said Gupta: “It is difficult for me to venture out due to limited mobility. My only son lives abroad. I have opted for home healthcare services which gives me great comfort and care,” Gupta said.
For Surabhi Sharma, whose mother is suffering from cancer, the services are a boon. “With a two-year old son, I would not have been able to manage my mother’s illness if not for the services at home. I am all for it,” Sharma said.
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