Pune: The district administration is mulling over the option of converting nursing homes and small hospitals having 50 or fewer number of beds into dedicated COVID-19 hospitals, to reduce the burden on bigger hospitals in the city. Officials have formed ward-level working groups to assess the feasibility of how many small hospitals and nursing homes can be converted in less time without affecting the non-COVID patient's treatment.
The district administration has set up an infrastructure task force to address the issue of shortage of oxygenated, ventilator and ICU beds in all hospitals in the city. Apart from augmenting the hospital bed capacity in Sassoon General Hospital, Dalvi hospital and Naidu hospital, the Pune Municipal Corporation's (PMC) Rajiv Gandhi hospital will soon be turned into a dedicated COVID-19 hospital.
Special Officer at the Pune Divisional Commissioner Office, Saurabh Rao said, "We are finding out the exact number of nursing homes and small hospitals that can be converted as dedicated COVID-19 hospitals. In the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) region, there are a total of 700 small, medium and large hospitals. Out of these, 100 hospitals are at present in our COVID network. There are a few norms regarding separate entry and exit routes and other factors which are to be considered before declaring any facility as a dedicated COVID-19 hospital. We have formed a zonal medical officer level working group along with the general practitioners and nursing homes. They are helping us to identify which small hospitals and nursing homes would be feasible to convert as dedicated COVID-19 hospitals."
The infrastructure task force held a meeting of Indian Medical Association, Pune Nursing Home Association and General Practitioners Association on Monday. The district administration plans to bring the registered nursing homes in its COVID-19 hospital network.
Rao said, "The General Practitioners association said that their 600 members will be available for COVID duty at any government or non-government hospital. The nursing home association too is willing to help, provided they are given clarity about the deficit in bed and workforce availability. The nursing bureaus have asked for similar norms for private hospitals and nursing homes as far as the duty hours and other issues for doctors, nurses and ward boys are concerned. They have demanded that the patients to physician and patients to nurse ratio should be fixed and followed as per norms. We will address all their concerns and bring them into our network."
Dedicated units for non-COVID patients too
When asked about the treatment of non-COVID patients, if all small hospitals are converted to COVID-19 hospitals, Rao said, "Mapping of all nearby hospitals is being done for those hospitals which will be converted as dedicated COVID-19 facilities. Non-COVID patients are an important component in this fight against the coronavirus epidemic and we have to prevent them from cross-infection. Patients on dialysis, trauma and cardiac patients will have dedicated clean and sanitised units. At present, the load of such non-COVID patients on government and non-government hospitals is less than 25 to 30 per cent."