With a significant number of recovered patients complaining of breathlessness, fatigue and body aches, authorities at the Rajiv Gandhi Super Specialty Hospital in Delhi have said they can consider opening a post-COVID-19 ward to provide better treatment to such people. The hospital opened a post-COVID-19 clinic on August 20 after several recovered patients called up Dr Ajit Jain, the nodal officer for coronavirus, complaining about symptoms that lingered on for weeks after recovery.
"Around 1,500 COVID-19 patients have been discharged from the hospital since March 17.We created WhatApp groups for all these patients to collect feedback. We also call them up regularly to take stock of their condition," Dr Jain said. "This is how we got to know that a few recovered patients were suffering from long-term complications like anxiety, breathlessness, insomnia." The feedback led to the opening of the post-COVID clinic, a first-of-its-kind facility, on the premises of the hospital with medical specialists to treat symptoms particular to their respective fields.
"Around 120 such patients have approached us so far since August 20. We will have to open a post COVID ward if the number goes up," Jain said. A neuro physiatrist is taking care of patients who show symptoms of neurosis, an umbrella term used for depression, anxiety, restlessness, and hypochondria, at the post-COVID clinic.
"We have come across different subsets of patients — including those who complain of fatigue, anxiety, breathlessness, insomnia, loss of smell and taste. These are long-term conditions," he said. "As we go further, we will be in a better position to tell if they need to be admitted to a post-COVID ward," Jain said.
The authorities at RGSSH are also preparing post-COVID clinic guidelines to help other coronavirus-dedicated health care facilities treat such patients.