The Safeguard measures for mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on radiotherapy services in a Cancer Hospital: A resource-constrained approach
Keywords:COVID-19, Radiotherapy, Precautionary measures, Resource-constrained approach, Healthcare department.
This article suggests the preventive measures for healthcare department (particularly radiotherapy department) to reduce the probability of corona virus transmission with a resource constrained approach without affecting the work flow. COVID-19 has affected the patients as well as staff of radiotherapy department leaving a severe negative impact on the financial resources of INOR cancer hospital, Abbottabad. Multiple preventive measures have been taken to reduce the probability of spreading the coronavirus while pursuing the timely treatment of radiotherapy patients without compromising their oncological outcomes. In this context, a triage center was established to filter out the Covid suspected/confirmed patients to reduce the risk of infection to other patients and staff. Social distancing was ensured by making amendments in patient gathering areas. Also extensive ventilation and disinfection procedures were adopted to clean the surfaces. Following these measures, patient flux did not show any considerable decrease in second, third and fourth wave as compared to first wave when patient flux reduced to about less than 25 %. Preventive measures were also taken for the employees by ensuring them to wear personal protective equipment during office hours. To further reduce the probability of contact, telemedicine was adopted for patients where possible. All employees were made to be fully vaccinated by July 2021 resulting in 100 % reduction in new cases among INOR employees in the following fourth COVID wave. Owing to these stringent measures taken to fight against coronavirus, ratio of contracting the coronavirus among the employees and patients of INOR has been found <10% overall in this pandemic, While no mortality has been reported so far.
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