Since the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak, the focus has been on minimising the risk to the most vulnerable in society; the elderly, immunosuppressed, patients with co-morbidities, whilst preserving the resources of healthcare systems anticipating increased demand for acute services – flattening the curve.
Self- isolation means vulnerable individuals now find themselves being excluded from their normal routines, personal interactions, mixing with their loved ones and carers. Although this is for their own benefit and could save their own lives, this is hard. Patients with rare diseases already feel isolated and rely on these personal relationships for not only care but also psychological support. What is the impact of further isolation on their mental state? What practical support can be provided?
Home healthcare has been a growing market over the past couple of decades. This model for care has proven to reduce the burden on healthcare systems and provides personalised support with >96% patient satisfaction rates. There is substantial experience in managing chronic patients, elderly, immunosuppressed (on chemotherapy) or patients with rare diseases. Furthermore, developments in remote digital support and monitoring are adding to the sophisticated options for a personalised experience. Remote management is being encouraged and accelerated during these times by policy makers to reduce contamination risk.
In the US new rules for Medicaid enabling greater usage of Telehealth have been passed In the UK the national body for clinical homecare (NCHA) are advising members to be proactive and evolve their care to suit the needs of their patients with open communication “Routine homecare medicine deliveries continue as normal, but (where required) we will be implementing “social distancing” so you will not be asked to sign for your delivery and driver may appear more distant than usual as they will be avoiding direct physical contact with you.
With the home healthcare market expected to be worth $515.6 Billion by 2027 (CAGR: 7.9%), innovative approaches to clinical homecare during this outbreak may be a catalyst for wider uptake. This may reduce some of the feelings of isolation whilst people are in quarantine.