On the role of home healthcare providers in providing quality care to disabled patients
A holistic medical service at home can offer great convenience and reassurance to the family members of the disabled. Traditionally, home healthcare and the responsibilities associated with it were entrusted to a family member staying in the same household. Currently, with the rise in nuclear families and with both spouses working, this trend is changing and paving the way for adoption of home healthcare services. Home healthcare as an alternative is gradually being accepted as a professional and cost-effective option to access quality care. One of the biggest driving forces to this growth lies in the management of chronic disease for patients at home so that these patients can avoid costs and inconvenience of recurrent hospitalization and reduce risks with early interventions, continual risk assessment, and professional care.
Research also shows that a patient’s psychological and emotional well-being is relatively better in their familiar daily routine and environment. Since the various clinical services (nursing and physiotherapy) can be provided by the same home healthcare provider, the continuum of care is maintained. At Nightingales, delivery of the clinical service is done through a structured process and monitored by the in-house quality team. After the detailed initial assessment by a senior clinical staff, a personalized care plan is chalked out. The relevant parameters are recorded in a structured format as per internationally accepted guidelines and formats. The outcome measures are recorded and reviewed to see the progress of the patient. This ensures that there is stringent monitoring of the delivery of clinical care.
On challenges in providing care to disabled patients
Disabled patients generally need various kinds of services which can range from attendants to nurses to doctors. Relevant aids and equipment can improve the quality of life drastically. Due to mobility challenges, it becomes very difficult for the family members to escort them continuously without sacrificing their own quality of life. Arranging these facilities for the disabled also entails heavy investment of time and search costs as availability of these services in the traditional hospital/clinic setup is often missing. In short, constant travel and fragmentation of services are the main challenges. Family members need to connect to different providers for different services. This increases the cost and robs the family of peace of mind and quality of life. Continuum of care is also not maintained, given the busy modern lifestyles of relatives/care-givers.
On growth potential for this market, rental services for wheelchairs and other equipment, and business model
The home healthcare sector is evolving at a rapid pace and is expected to grow from a USD 2 billion market opportunity in 2014 to USD 6 billion by 2020 in India. Developments in information technology (IT) and integration with medical electronics are enabling the sector to provide high-quality medical care at home at affordable prices.
We provide all kinds of equipment and aids for the patients as per their health need. On recommendation by our clinical staff, we can deliver the equipment to the patient’s home. A qualified biomedical engineer takes care of the installation and demo. We also take care of service and warranty requirements. As per the advice of the clinical staff and needs of the patient, the equipment can be purchased or taken on a rental basis. Professional nursing or physiotherapy services are our specialty and made available at point-of-care. Most importantly, we provide an integrated service of managing the condition of the disabled by comprehensively thinking through of all requirements and providing for them.
The author is Head – Medical Product and Services, Nightingales Home Health Services