Make COVID centres safe spaces for patients
Staff shortage is a challenge and it is understandable that these centres will avoid employing people from outside, given that they are COVID centres.
It was disconcerting to note that a theft had taken place at a COVID-19 centre, as reported in this newspaper. A deceased patient's mangalsutra and smartphone have been allegedly stolen from the COVID Care Centre in Dahisar. The family claimed that the woman was wearing the mangalsutra and was given a smartphone to keep in touch with them when she was taken to the centre. Now, both are missing and police have been called to investigate.
While the case is being probed, this certainly throws the spotlight on safety in centres. With numerous such centres across the city, the management has to make watertight arrangements for safety at COVID centres.
Staff shortage is a challenge and it is understandable that these centres will avoid employing people from outside, given that they are COVID centres. Considering that there are several patients to look after, medical staff and many other people at one centre with security personnel severely stretched, this is what could be done to enhance security:
First families need to make a record of what the patient is taking with them to the centre, if there is time to do so. The money, any jewellery and phone, should be documented by the family. The centre may not have enough personnel but technology can aid here. Top-class surveillance is a big advantage. There must be CCTV cameras placed on the outer periphery of the centres. Good fire safety equipment must be on hand. At least two to three clearly marked unblocked exits must be available, in case one has to move out of the centre. Finally, an alarm system for patients in case they perceive any kind of threat and need help.
The pandemic is taking a huge physical as well as mental toll on the families of patients too. Let centres at least reassure them of the safety aspect.
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