Doctors update families on patients’ health via videos


With hospitals restricting visitors even for non-COVID-19 patients, relatives are demanding better access to information about their loved ones

The isolation of COVID-19 patients is traumatic not just for those afflicted by the virus, but also for family members who are unable to care for their loved ones and are dependent on the hospital authorities to keep them updated at all times. With hospitals restricting visiting hours even for non-COVID-19 patients as a precautionary measure, there have been an increasing number of complaints from people that they are being kept in the dark about the health status of their family members after hospitalisation.

In an attempt to address this, many private hospitals in Bengaluru have started making short videos of their patients, which they send to families to keep them updated on treatment plans, how the person is responding, etc.

Risk of infection

Doctors point out that people are being told not to make hospital visits unless absolutely necessary. R. Ravindra, Medical Director, Suguna Hospital, said that they restrict visitors as they may be at risk of catching the infection at the hospital itself. “While patients regularly video call their family members, we send videos when our doctors visit them particularly if they are in our intensive care units,” he said.

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This is to avoid miscommunication during the course of the treatment. “If the family of a patient does not know what is happening, they get tense and tend to assume a lot of things regarding their loved one’s health condition. So we have decided to use this method to keep them in the loop,” he said.

Positive feedback

Anoop Amarnath of Manipal Hospitals said that the frequency of the medical team’s interaction with the families has gone up over the past two weeks. “It serves two purposes. One, it comes as a relief to families who are informed about the treatment that is being provided. It also helps our doctors get some feedback on the medical history of elderly patients,” he said, and added that the system of communication has received good feedback.

Families too are relieved with this move. “My father was admitted in the hospital and we did not visit as we were afraid of contracting the virus in the hospital. As my father is not tech-savvy we were not able to communicate properly with him. But we were relieved after the hospital started sending us videos of how he is responding to treatment,” said a software professional in Malleswaram whose father was admitted for treatment.

Hospital managements say that this system has eased the pressure on their medical staff who would otherwise be spending the better part of the day fielding calls from anxious relatives. Vikram Sreeram, MD, Mallige Hospital, said that in the recent past, different teams at the hospital were being flooded with calls from families of patients. “Families of COVID-19 patients are not allowed to visit them but non-COVID-19 patients can have one attender. We are trying to reduce the footfalls at the hospital.”



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Sagar Biswas

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