Elderly COVID-19 survivors with no home find warmth at Hyderabad hospital

Centenarian COVID-19 survivor Nagendramma during a video interaction with doctors at Gandhi Hospital’s Dependants Ward on Sunday. By arrangement  

She shrieks in pain every time caregivers at the Gandhi Hospital try to lift her back to make her sit. But ask 100-year-old Nagendramma her age, she chuckles and says, “I am as young as a kid”. Hearing her response, doctors and patient care providers on duty make no attempt to hide their laughter even as her wrinkled face breaks into a tender smile.

The centenarian is among the many elderly patients to have recovered from COVID-19 and admitted to the ‘Dependants Ward’ of Gandhi Hospital, for the past five months.

Also at the ward are two other elderly women, Laxmamma (82) and Annapurna (86, who waged a successful battle against the disease, but they are reserved, unlike Nagendramma. Only one of them is able to talk.

A lot in common

Apart from the fact that the three women cannot eat, sit, walk or clean themselves up without help, a common thread binding them is that they have no home to return to. They all used to stay at old-age homes.

The management of the home where Nagendramma used to stay has not been responding to calls. Hospital authorities are also trying to trace the address of the facility where the other two women stayed.

Gandhi Hospital superintendent M. Raja Rao said that apart from the elderly, patients with disabilities, mental illnesses and malignancies, who are in a mostly bed-ridden condition, are admitted to the ‘Dependants Ward’.

The State-run hospital is designated as a COVID-exclusive facility.

COVID nodal officer at the hospital T. Prabhakar Reddy said patient care providers take care of the patients in the ward. Some of the patients who cannot even muster energy to ask for food are fed regularly at a particular time, he added.

“Since the patients cannot function on their own, the hospital staff feed them, change their diapers, clean them up and help them move around,” he shared. Till date, 117 patients, who are COVID survivors with no home to go back to, have been admitted in the ward.

Dr Raja Rao said patients are given food of their choice, adding Nagendramma, for instance, prefers hot coffee and puris or dosas.

Shut out

There are also some aged patients who despite being able-bodied are forced to stay back at the hospital as their family members or children hesitate to take them home right after recovery.

Hospital officials said during treatment, family members used to regularly call to enquire about the health of the patient. However, post recovery, many have requested the administration to delay the discharge date citing safety concern of children or the lack of a person to take care of the recovered patient at home, among other reasons.

Some such patients had had to stay back for more than 50 days, said officials.

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Printable version | Oct 22, 2021 11:07:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/elderly-covid-19-survivors-with-no-home-find-warmth-at-hyderabad-hospital/article33054048.ece

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