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Abbreviated health-care services for older persons during the COVID-19 pandemic – A wake-up call for a longer-term plan


1 Department of Community Medicine, University College of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Medicine, University College of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Shaileja Yadav,
Department of Community Medicine, University College of Medical Sciences, New Delhi - 110 095
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/injr.injr_341_20

The last 1 year has underscored the need of a robust global public health system like never before. Both the infection itself, and the measures taken to contain it, have forced us to adopt new ways of life. Measures taken by the Indian government ranged from initial advisories on social distancing and hand hygiene to a full-fledged nationwide lockdown. The lockdown disrupted all the routine health-care activities – right from the suspension of curative outpatient department (OPD) services to preventive immunization and antenatal care services; the entire system has been affected. The problem has been especially complex for older patients due to the fact that they are at a higher risk for infection by the virtue of their age and likely to have a more severe disease due to the presence of multiple comorbidities, including but not limited to the other pandemic of diabetes that we have been witnessing over the past few decades. Resuming a health-care service for older people requiring inperson visits for OPD consultation may not be a good enough option for them. Thus, we have two major issues with geriatric population – access and utilization of health-care services. While telemedicine has been widely employed to solve the problem of access; does it really solve the issue of utilization of health-care services by a scared geriatric patient who needs a caregiver, too? In this article, we explore the impact and some of these changes, telemedicine, and other potential solutions, focusing on the health care needs of older persons and the future discourse.


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    -  Yadav S
    -  Goel A
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