Is your family member hospitalised because of COVID-19 in India?
Hope is the one thing that can help us get through the darkest of times
Covid-19 has been a stressful event for all of us, but it has been gruesome and emotionally tiring for everyone whose family members had been or are currently hospitalised because of it. We, Indians, are grateful to our community which has helped each one us but unfortunate enough to see politicisation, duplication, and scarcity of medicines and medical equipments. In this troublesome time, I’d like to remind you of a few important and helpful points.
- Don’t lose hope — “Hope is the one thing that can help us get through the darkest of times”. We all are facing tough times and hope is the only boat that can sail us through these times. Give the same to all family members. If you’re allowed to meet the patient, shower him with positivity. It will help him fight the battle with more vigour and positivity.
- Daily Updates from the Doctor — If possible, connect with the doctors daily. If they share any improvement, cheer up the patient with it. Generally, the doctors suggest lab tests each day or every alternate one. Check those reports and query the doctors about them. Also, ask the doctors about the next steps in the treatment.
- Trust BUT Verify — We should trust the doctors, but verify the treatment with other doctors because not everyone is lucky enough to get an admission at their preferred hospital. If possible share the lab reports with other doctors.
- Keep a check on Medical Bills & Lab Tests — Each day you’ll be provided with a long prescription of medicines. Verify the medicines provided against the bill. Because of the heavy load of patients, the pharmacist might miss a few of the medicines. Always ask for a discount. It personally saved me a good amount of cash. Generally, pharmacists have a 15–25% profit margin on each medicine they sell. Therefore, they might provide you 10–18% discount depending on the medicines you buy. If you’re paying a bill using any UPI app, add the bill number in the transaction message. It’ll be helpful later on to track expenditures. Document and scan all the bills and lab tests prescriptions. If you’re availing cashless facility at the hospital, scanned bills will help you verify the total pharmacy expenditure in the final discharge bill sent to the insurance company.
- Know your costs — Ask the hospital for daily charges such as room rent. Keep a note of charges for different types of hospital rooms such as General ward, ICU, etc. Services such as ventilation also have a separate cost. Knowing all these costs will help you plan for the upcoming financial costs. Maintain all your costs in an excel file or google sheets.
- Diligently check the final discharge bill — Check each part of your bill. Some hospitals might charge you more than required. You might miss these details. If you’re an insured customer, ask the hospital or your insurance provider to share the final discharge bill. If you find any discrepancy, alert the insurance company with the same and confront the hospital administration for the issue.
- Handy Contacts — In these uncertain times, you might need to arrange a few things or services in very little time. Therefore, keep handy the following contacts:
- State/City COVID helplines
- Oxygen Cylinder Providers — Few patients might require oxygen support after discharge.
- Pharmacists — You might face a medicine shortage. Therefore, pharmacists can either provide you with the medicines or guide you to the right source. Also, approach your friend circles, relatives, etc. if unable to acquire the required medicines.
- Medical Equipment Providers — After discharge, the patient might need medical equipment support which can be bought from a store or leased from an NGO.
- Protect yourself — Hospital visits will become a routine for the next few days or weeks. You need to protect yourself because Hospitals themselves have become a hotspot for COVID infection. Therefore, wear masks, face shield, surgical cap, gloves, full sleeves shirts and full pants when you visit the hospital. Also, equip yourself with a sanitiser and use it as frequently as possible. After you go back to your residence, thoroughly cleanse yourself before making any contact with other people. “Break the chain”.
- Beware of Fraud — It is hard to believe, but few people in our country have stooped so low that they’ve started scamming people facing medical emergencies. They’ve left no stone unturned to profit from other’s desperateness for hospital beds, oxygen cylinders, and medicines.
I hope the above information will help you take better care of your loved one. Please let me know if I’ve missed any point or provided incorrect information. I’d consider them while updating this document.