The challenges the coronavirus emergency has confronted us with will have perpetual consequences, not only on our daily lives in the short term, but mainly on the national healthcare system. Now approaching phase 2, we begin to wonder which scenarios are on the horizon and what the future holds for the public healthcare system.
It is now clear to all that even when the coronavirus lockdown comes to an end, we will continue to live out the consequences. The risk of a second wave of infections is still high and could undermine the efforts made thus far.
Another other big question is whether or not the public healthcare system will be able to offer assistance in the same way it did before the emergency. For this reason, Minister of Health Roberto Speranza is working on a report with technicians from the Ministry of Health to implement measures aimed at fortifying healthcare in the regions and getting things “back to normal”. This will be discussed in the next few days with the Council of Ministers and provisions should be present in April’s decree. The current situation is unsustainable considering that the normal activities of the national healthcare system have been momentarily suspended with the exception of urgent recoveries. Furthermore, there is the problem of transporting patients. How can they be moved without exposing them to the risk of contagion?
From hospital to home
Roberto Speranza, in an interview with Sole 24 Ore, asserted that chronic diseases have not disappeared with the arrival of covid-19, but continue and will continue to be the main problem. An attempt was made to postpone this problem by deploying more resources for home care, given that 2/3 of chronic patients are currently locked down in their homes. The number of special units for continued assistance (USCA) were increased and soon they will be working consistently to bring therapies to the homes of patients. Now the question is whether or not to include nurses and healthcare workers in these units as well.
Instruments for family doctors and nurses will be enhanced to care for patients directly in their homes, thus guaranteeing all normal services necessary to ensure the conditions of chronic patients do not degenerate. The hospital network is thus moving into patients’ homes, bringing to light the benefits of home care.
This step was initially put into place to protect patients from eventual contagion, but it demonstrates the benefits of remote and home therapies which, at this point, may become permanent given the logistical advantages that avoid overcrowding hospitals.
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