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Step-down facility to fast-track recovery opened

2021-11-25  Paheja Siririka

Step-down facility to fast-track recovery opened
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The most difficult part about healing from surgery is the lonely times that people find themselves in as loved ones cannot be present 24/7 in the rehabilitation ward. That’s why Treeside Centre is safely returning patients home, or transitioning them to a lower level of care.

The facility consists of consulting rooms for three doctors, one general practitioner and two specialists as well as Treeside Medical Suites, which is a step-down or sub-acute facility which admits and cares for patients who would no longer require hospital care, but are still not well enough to return home.

The centre opened its doors last year, but Treeside Medical Suites only admitted its first patients in February 2021. Since then, it has admitted 70 patients, who are taken care of by 30 Namibians employed on a temporary and permanent basis.

At the unveiling of the centre yesterday, clinical psychologist Dr Käthe Burkhardt said stress, anxiety, uncertainty, being overwhelmed and the family member feeling constantly in the way or out of the loop may impact the whole experience negatively and influence recovery.

“The stress response to surgery is on both a physiological and psychological level. A stressed body does not respond as well as nor heal as well. The intensity of the pain (perception) is affected by distress such as fear, worry and anxiety”, observed Burkhardt.

She added: “Healthcare practitioners need to evaluate, monitor and promote all levels of the patient’s participation in their care. This participation in the healthcare journey is of paramount importance. The focus is on delivering quality care while integrating evidence-based practices. Intervention on various levels results in a better outcome.” 

Burkhardt said the most important component in recovering from surgery has to do with the participation of the family.

“A holistic approach includes family as they play a major role, can provide support and assist with remembering important information regarding the procedure as well as the aftercare. We have all seen how people can become confused about medication, or how they lose momentum with their rehabilitation.”

Involving family can enhance therapeutic adherence and as such recovery, and a physical presence is also a form of support and provides a sense of safety (at night, anxiety can increase, which in turn negatively influences the whole experience.

The facility, therefore, also allows family members, in selected cases, to share a room with a loved one who is admitted. This concept came about when Ogbonna’s family member was hospitalised for a long time, which helped him experience life from the perspectives of being a family member and how the patient feels.

Health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula said the private sector is an important partner in the provision of healthcare, and investments to strengthen the system by Treeside Centre and other roleplayers are welcomed.

“Step down facilities, such as this one, are important in healthcare delivery. This is because they provide a transition between hospital and home for persons discharged from hospital. This is critically important when illness and hospitalisation have been prolonged, and both the patient and family need time to be prepared for a return home,” he noted.

 Shangula added that the transition is even more important in Namibia, where physical distances between hospital and home may be very long, and in some cases home may be in rural or farming areas, far from a clinic or health centre where wound dressings can be done or physiotherapy sessions attended to improve motor functions, such as the skill of walking with crutches.

“When hospitals are full, step-down facilities provide an important “safety valve” to ease the pressure on hospitals. Because these facilities charge lower rates than hospitals, they contribute to lowering the cost of medical care to both the patient and their funders”, he continued.

The founder of Treeside Centre, Dr Benhard Ogbonna, said this started as a dream and with the right team, everything has become a reality.

“Those have been true for Treeside. To go from imagination to success, one needs a lot of goodwill from trusted friends and reliable people, and an incredible amount of hard work”, expressed the medical practitioner.

Obgonna is a medical surgeon with a special interest in laparoscopic surgery and endoscopy. Laparoscopy is an examination of the abdominal organs, using surgical methods to determine the reason for pain or other complications of the pelvic region or abdomen, while endoscopy is a procedure used in medicine to look inside the body. The endoscopy procedure uses an endoscope to examine the interior of a hollow organ or cavity of the body. psiririka@nepc.com.na


2021-11-25  Paheja Siririka

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