Healthcare in India is growing at a remarkable pace with a slew of investments pouring in from different parts of the world into multiple sectors. With the country evolving to be a promising land of opportunities for personalized medicine, medical devices, industry, and diagnostics, there are reasons to cheer for citizens.
Our hospitals boast of state-of-the-art infrastructure and offer world-class treatments to patients from far and wide. Innovative startups in mobile technology and improved data services have further enhanced the prospects of healthcare. Unfortunately, even as we proudly compare the healthcare services of India with the developed economies of the world, they tend to overlook a critical vertical in healthcare post-acute care.
Post-acute care refers to the intense inpatient care required by an individual after undergoing critical treatments/ surgeries in acute care hospitals. Soon after a patient is declared stable, hospitals prefer to discharge him/her to offer the bed to another individual who is in need of critical care. However, at this point, the patient needn’t be fully ready to go home and get back to his normal life.
If the individual is recovering from an unanticipated critical illness like a stroke, cardiac arrest or neurological disorder, he/she will need the support of transition care, before being shifted to his/her house.
Transition care comprises rehabilitation services which are designed by a multidisciplinary team of doctors to help the individual regain strength and functional abilities, leading to an accelerated and enhanced recovery.
Most developed nations give great emphasis to transition care to reduce re-admissions in hospitals following the deterioration of health, assist patients in resuming self-care at the earliest and reduce the overall expenditure of hospital stay.
However, in India, post-hospitalization care is often confused with home-healthcare and patients are directly shifted to their homes. In the absence of continued monitoring by a team of doctors and skilled nurses within an in-patient facility, patients recovering from trauma related to neurology, cardiology, orthopedics and oncology could go to relapse.
Multidisciplinary care providers
There are several disparities in care between the two kinds of care. Inpatient rehabilitation centers, unlike home care providers, offer specialized care which is supervised and monitored by quality standards and safety norms, and administered by a skilled team of rehab professionals.
Care At Home
While home care is effective with the intermittent and mono-disciplinary needs of a patient through a one-time visit of the doctor, nurse or physiotherapist, a specialized rehabilitation center serves the continuous and multidisciplinary needs of a patient through the collaborative approach of a group of care providers.
To ensure a seamless transition of care from a critical care hospital, the involvement of a primary physician is very important. Rehab centers recognize this and involve a primary physician in care. While the family member or patient will have a greater role in driving the care plan in-home care, rehabilitation care is led by a ‘care team’ keeping in mind what works best for the individual’s holistic recovery.
The scope of health education, group therapy (motivation and socialization), development of functional and cognitive abilities through equipment and institutional set-up, constant monitoring of performance indicators etc provided at rehabilitation centers make it an ideal setting for empowered recuperation.
With the cost of a stay in a rehab facility being one-third of a hospital’s critical care package, it is in the best interest of a patient’s health. Developing an acute care strategy will significantly level the wide existing need gap in India’s current healthcare scene by completing the care continuum.