Corona caregivers create new career option

MUNIMA SULTANA | Tuesday, 21 September 2021

When corona has hit many businesses hard to go for financial aid from the government for survival, a new service of care-giving emerged as a career choice for those who are in need.

It comes as a blessing in disguise particularly for the unemployed to attend patients at their homes or at hospitals while fear of infection scares off many kinsmen.

Whatever the patients' condition, demand-based nurses, medical assistants, medical caregivers or only caregivers are supplied to take care of them at home or hospital.

Though on limited number, service-providers claim that around 25 new-brand companies have emerged to provide different kinds of supports to people at affordable charges during the last one year.

They, by developing panel using social media, were able to provide attendance according to demand of clients, the companies said.

Nazneen Hasan managed her husband's hospital caretaking with the help of one company when the couple was infected with Covid last April.

A teacher by profession, Nazneen tried to take care of her husband, Kazi Ali Hasan, at hospital but could not continue due to deterioration of her condition.

"I had tried to attend my husband being non-symptomatic of coronavirus. But, after two to three nights at hospital, my pressure got high and could not continue," she said reasoning her search for medical assistants on shift basis for a week.

Similarly, above-70 Jinnatul Fatema of Gopibag area of Dhaka also took nursing service at home when her coronavirus-infected elder sister's condition got slight delicate. It was hard for childless Fatema and her sister to maintain hospital service for long.

With the nurse at home, Fatema managed daily injection and oxygen therapy from cylinder.

According to service-providers, the attendants are hired on assignment basis with usually 70:30 ratio of daily payment.

On demand, they give search on the group giving details of the patients and introduce to the clients

Talking to some companies, the FE correspondent found that service got a lift for those companies which could supply on-demand nurses, medical assistants, and medical caregivers for Covid patients.

But not all care-giving companies were able to provide service to Covid patients.

"Actually those who could provide services to COVID patients did good business and saw a jump," said Dr Zahiruddin Mahmud, chief executive officer of HealthCare at Home Bangladesh.

He, however, said despite the potential, the care-giving service needs supports to grow up, citing example of insurance coverage, trust building of both doctors and patients.

HealthCare at Home Bangladesh had launched its service in January last year, two months before the pandemic coronavirus first hit the country. But its services have got a lift since January of the current year, creating a 200-member panel of different doctors and nurses who give both part-or full-time service at home or hospital.

Dr Zahir launched the service after facing helplessness at the time of his mother's illness. From his experience to work as personal home healthcare-service provider in the United States, he developed a business model and was able to create demand up by 40 per cent from January.

Carelit, another care-giving service provider, also launched the service while unable to manage treatment of the father of the company's chairman.

Coordinator of Carelit Limited Home Care Goutom Kumar says slowly the services have been expanded with various demands.

"Initially we started giving service to our near and dear ones and relatives, but slowly now providing doctors, nurses for various services creating a pool of 50 caregivers," he said, adding that business trend sees ups and downs since the beginning of their service.

Dr Zahir said with proper care-giving service, one can lower medical costs almost three-fourths from the hospital cost.

The service-providers also said services like intensive-care unit, various tests through sending machines at home can also be provided.

But they face challenges in maintaining the members in the attendance pool or panels constantly

The HealthCare tries to maintain panel of 200 members constantly surveying social media and keeping data of them as experienced nurses, medical assistants or caregivers may respond to any other companies.

Service-providers create the pool or panel through FB group. The interested diploma nurses, doctors, medical assistants or others show interest in working and share their curriculum vitae with the companies. They are later called to office for interviews and trainings.

The companies usually send office staff to hospitals or homes to understand the situation of the patients and get medical reports as documents and then assign a person as per requirement of the client.

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