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'Focus on step-down mechanism for ICU patients after health improves'

Focus on step-down mechanism for ICU patients after health improves
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KOLKATA: Experts involved in Covid management opined that such patients must be stepped-down and shifted to general beds from critical care as soon as their health condition improves. "No beds can be kept occupied for long unnecessarily as many serious patients are in the queue," a senior health official said on Wednesday.

The influx of critical patients has also gone up in the past few weeks as the infection rate multiplied than what it had been during the end of last year.

"Many elderly patients who were at home treatment are being shifted to hospitals after their health condition turns serious. With the patient load rising and hospitals beds mostly filled up, many prefer to stay at home in isolation till their condition deteriorates. These patients require a critical care bed. There have been instances when such patients cannot immediately be accommodated to a critical care unit as the beds are already occupied by those who can be easily shifted to the general ward," a senior doctor from a government hospital in the city said.

When contacted, Dr Swapan Biswas, a senior doctor of a government hospital and a representative of Service Doctors' Forum, an organisation of service doctors in the city, said: "It is urgent to step-down a patient from the critical care unit to general bed as soon as his or her health condition improves. If it is required, more Safe Homes can be established at the government-level to accommodate mild-infected patients."

Meanwhile, the protocol monitoring committee of the state Health department has observed that some Covid hospitals are unable to follow the step-down mechanism properly for shifting Covid patients from the ICU to the general ward after their condition improves. As a result, more critical patients have to wait for being accommodated in the critical care unit.

Sources said the committee has already submitted a report to the health officials in this regard. If the patients are not stepped-down from the ICU on time after their health condition improves, it would affect the treatment of others as there is mounting pressure on critical beds in the hospitals.

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