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SocietyBridging the gap: The role of homecare services in modern healthcare

Bridging the gap: The role of homecare services in modern healthcare

Bridging the gap: The role of homecare services in modern healthcare | The Reporter | #1 Latest Ethiopian News TodayA mother of a 7-year-old boy, Eskedar Tefera, name changed upon request, shared her story with The Reporter, marking over a year since she began homecare services for her child. “It’s been over a year since our son began homecare,” she said, her voice a blend of exhaustion and hope. “But we’ve seen progress.”

Her son receives 24-hour nursing care, encompassing everything from feeding and bathing to administering medication and other treatments. A doctor and physiotherapist visit him weekly. “Managing without the nurses and doctors would have been extremely difficult,” she confessed.

Yet, the family’s financial situation is dire. As a housewife with a husband who works as a driver, and with two other children to care for, they are spending over 30,000 per month, excluding medication costs. She says the family is grappling with these significant expenses, often seeking help from relatives.

In a nation where the healthcare system has made notable strides—improving maternal and child health, controlling infectious diseases, and expanding vaccination coverage –significant challenges remain. The shortage of healthcare professionals, inadequate infrastructure, and limited access to quality care persist, highlighting the urgent need for innovative solutions. Among these, homecare health services have emerged as a vital complement to the traditional healthcare system.

However, even though homecare services are designed to provide medical and non-medical support to individuals within their homes, the financial cost is simply unbearable to most, even for those considered middle class.

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Thomas Belete, name changed upon request, says much has changed compared to a decade ago. “Our father was ill and bed-ridden at that time. So we had to hire someone not educated in the field but with minimal pay,” he said.

“Fast forward 12 years to now, we are being asked to pay more than 40,000 birr to take care of our grandmother. That is out of our means, so we resorted to hiring housemaids to help take care of her,” he said.

These services focus on managing chronic illnesses, post-hospitalization care, rehabilitation, and assisting with daily activities for those with disabilities or the elderly.

Amanuel Temesgen(MD) from Kingdom Nurses Service Ethiopia,says they provide home-based care services for individuals requiring medical treatment with a team of experienced doctors and nurses dedicated to delivering high-quality care.

“We cater to patients with chronic illnesses, including those who are bedridden and frequently ill,” he said. “Our services are crucial for conditions like stroke, where paralysis can lead to severe complications if not properly managed.

He explained that their focus is ontreating patients and preventing complications, providing care tailored to their specific conditions, from daily visits to weekly check-ins.

Asres Kasa, owes her medical recovery partly to the Service. She says she was partially paralyzed for months due to a stroke, but with the help of a physiotherapist, she has made significant progress.

“The doctors and nurses at Home Care Service have been exceptional. They provide compassionate, professional care, and their dedication has truly made a difference in my daily life. From helping with household chores to assisting with medical needs, their support has given me peace of mind and a sense of independence. I am incredibly grateful for their outstanding service,” she explained.

Amanuel claims they offer a holistic approach, teaching families how to care for their loved ones, manage their diet, exercise, and medication. “We work as a family, providing 24-hour nursing shifts for elders, and ensuring round-the-clock care for patients with severe conditions such as cancer, wounds, strokes, and diabetes,” he said.

Bridging the gap: The role of homecare services in modern healthcare | The Reporter | #1 Latest Ethiopian News Today

They also supply necessary medical equipment at home, including hospital beds, wheelchairs, walkers, suction machines, and oxygen cylinders, according to him. “We ensure patients have access to all essential equipment at home, making the environment as supportive as a hospital.”

Expressing her deep satisfaction in her role as a homecare nurse, Samrawit Tsegaye, highlights the privilege she has of being able to provide comfort and care to her patients in the familiar environment of their own homes.

She says this approach allows her to witness first-hand the positive impact her services have on the quality of life of her patients, as well as the opportunity to build meaningful relationships with them and their families. Through her daily interactions, she claims she is constantly reminded of the significance of compassionate and personalized care.

“I am grateful for the chance to make a tangible difference in the lives of those under my care,” Samrawit said, emphasizing the importance of her role in improving patientswell-being and overall health.

As the elderly population continues to expand, homecare services have become increasingly essential in delivering quality care.

Since its inception, Merkuze Home Healthcare has served over 500 patients. While the minimum care duration is a week, most patients receive care for years, a testament to the trust and reliability the service has built.

Dagnachew Tamrat, manager at Merkuze, spoke to The Reporter about their comprehensive suite of services.He says they provide patient care services by offering 24-hour shift nurses, doctors, psychologists, equipment such as walkers, and other medical services.

“Our goal is to reduce patients’ hospital stays and care for them as if they were family,” he explained. Dagnachew underscored the critical importance of minimizing hospital stays to prevent additional infections. “We assign one nurse to one patient to ensure personalized care. We are expanding our services by including laboratory services,” he added, highlighting their commitment to holistic care.

Despite the fact that families are capable of providing care for their loved ones, the absence of knowledge and conviction frequently results in insufficient care.

Another user of homecare services in the country, Robel Matiwos, shared his experience with The Reporter about their grandmother’s health condition, who suffers from diabetes and requires oxygen due to her advanced age. Initially, they tried to care for her on their own, but her condition only worsened.

However, since they enlisted the help of homecare services, a team of nurses has been providing round-the-clock care, while doctors make frequent visits to monitor her health. Robel expressed relief and satisfaction with the improvement in their grandmother’s health under this new care arrangement.

Amanuel says the primary challenge they encounter is a lack of awareness among patients and their families. “Many families believe they can manage all aspects of care on their own, which is often not the case. This misconception can lead to inadequate care and increased stress for both patients and their caregivers. However, as awareness slowly improves, we are witnessing a steady rise in the number of patients seeking our home-based care solutions,” he explained.

According to him, this growing recognition underscores the vital role that professional home-based care plays in ensuring the well-being and quality of life for patients.For patients with more complex needs, Amanuel emphasized that they arrange a team of doctors, physiotherapists, and nurses to work together in delivering a coordinated and comprehensive care plan.

“This interdisciplinary approach ensures that patients receive holistic care from professionals with expertise in different specialties, ultimately leading to better outcomes and overall well-being for the patients,” Amanuel explained.

Another nurse, Bezawit Tewedros, believes their role goes beyond providing care to patients.

“Our role in providing emotional support to both the patient and their family is multifaceted and demanding. Nurses often find themselves advocating for the patient, mediating conflicts between family members, spending extended periods explaining the patient’s condition, and comforting distressed family members. Nurses may also face criticism from patients, friends, or family members. This challenging role requires a high level of positivity and patience,” Bezawit explained.

Shealso believes homecare health services represent a promising business venture with significant growth potential. Bezawit notes the rising demand for home care services.

According to her,by addressing the needs of an aging population and leveraging technological advancements, entrepreneurs can create impactful and profitable businesses that provide essential care to those who need it most.

“As the demand for personalized, in-home care continues to rise, the homecare health services industry stands as a beacon of opportunity in the healthcare landscape, ”Bezawit said, adding, these services are gaining popularity, with agencies offering various types of care. “Some agencies provide care for new-borns, special needs children, geriatric care, nutritional counselling for lactating mothers, and some have even started food supplies for new-borns.”

Dagnachew notes the critical role of media in enhancing public awareness regarding home health care services. “It’s crucial that people understand the benefits and availability of these services,” he urged, pointing to the need for greater public education and outreach.

However, noticeable increase in the demand for homecare services and the limited availability of these services has rendered them inaccessible to a significant portion of the population due to the considerably higher costs compared to hospital treatment.

Dagnachew emphasized the necessity for collaboration between hospitals and care service agencies to foster growth in this sector, noting that hospital beds are more costly than their services.

In comparison to hospital payments, the cost for Asres is significantly higher. “My children are covering the expenses, but without home care, I might still be in the hospital,” she said, her voice tinged with frustration.

As the country continues to develop its healthcare system, homecare services emerge as a pivotal component, aiming to bridge the gap between traditional healthcare settings and the personalized care that patients need.Homecare, once a luxury, is now a lifeline for many families. But as the demand grows, so does the need for accessible and affordable solutions.

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