The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed many weaknesses in the healthcare system in Spain and in the rest of the world. Although the pandemic affects the entire population, the threat of it is particularly serious for the elderly and the most dependent. The impact of response measures has been disproportionately reduced, which has had serious consequences in terms of deaths, opportunities, and social inclusion.
In the face of a pandemic, preparing homes and taking care of the needs of the ones who are vulnerable is not only a special challenge for families, but also for governments. Elder people living in residences usually spend time indoors, sometimes even in crowded places, which can increase the transmission of the virus. Therefore, many countries have adopted various measures to control infections and protect those elderly who require long-term care. These measures include prevention and control, management of human and financial resources, and coordination with public health authorities.
Next, we will suggest a series of actions based on our experience and knowledge of this sector. This is how we envision a fair and flexible healthcare system at DNX:
Strengthening the social care system
In the short term, action needs to be taken to manage potential new epidemics and meet the care needs of dependent people. Successful measures should continue to be taken to protect residents. At the same time, financial assistance should be provided to people who have stopped working to maintain or prevent contagion from vulnerable family members and who have no benefits to help these people. The mid-term solution would be to expand the availability of professional home care and improve research and data to monitor, evaluate, and strengthen health care and delivery systems.
Improving government administration of the health care sector
Those countries that have received public assistance in the health care system for the elderly and dependents can establish more effective response measures on the basis of these delivery systems. These systems could expand their coverage and thus provide more support to caregivers. Government management is especially important in countries that have established social pensions, and are considering financing and providing medical services.
Using technological solutions to combat isolation
The telemedicine system reduces the possibility of pathogen transmission while ensuring that the current and emergency medical needs of vulnerable groups can be met. Integrated wearable technology, such as our product, Touchcare, can be used to monitor vital signs and remember when necessary medications are to be taken, thus reducing physical contact with caregivers.
Isolation is a problem that causes serious psychological and physical consequences to these dependent people. Social distancing measures aggravate the isolation problem, which can be partially solved by improving the availability of video calls and other communication systems specially designed for this purpose.
The damage that COVID-19 causes to the most vulnerable groups is very serious. Government action to address the urgent needs of these people in this crisis is crucial. It is also important to develop systems and policies to alleviate future crises, including a third wave of the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent health problems caused by the infection.
In summary, there are a number of aspects that each government can improve to prepare society to protect the vulnerable and most dependent people from this type of crisis: the implementation of new social protection systems, the establishment of flexible and accessible systems that prioritize residential and home care, and the intelligent integration of IT solutions, such as the smart remote monitoring system Touchcare.