Odisha asks Covid treatment centres to set up help desk for kin of patients

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Bhubaneswar: Odisha on Tuesday issued an advisory asking all COVID-19 treatment facilities to set up help desks and provide necessary information to family members of patients, after several people complained that their requests for details were being snubbed by the centres.

The health and family welfare department, in its notification, said similar instructions were given to the medical facilities in the past, but "feedback from attendants and relatives of the patients clearly suggested that the directions were not followed."

"After careful examination of the matter, the government has come up with some guidelines, to be followed for establishing a dedicated help desk in each COVID-19 facility with immediate effect.

"The facilities (both government and private) should mandatorily establish a 24X7 help desk and have a dedicated phone number, preferably a toll-free number, to reply to queries," the notification said.

The toll-free numbers should be "widely notified to the public", and the help desk be manned with sufficient people round the clock, the department said.

Apart from telephonic communication, the desk should also use messaging platforms to send pictures and voice files of patients to their family members, the notification said.

"A dedicated conference room might be set up outside of the COVID-19 facilities with the provision of TV, which can be connected with CCTVs installed inside, for the attendant to see his patient and talk to him/her," it maintained.

Measures need to be taken to collect and record contact numbers of the patient's family members during the time of admission, the department said.

"The help desk should convey general information about the condition of the patient over SMS or WhatsApp to his or her attendant at least once every day," it stated, adding that the state would take action if any facility was found violating the provisions mentioned in the advisory.

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