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It's possible to avoid hospital admission completely

HEALTH

Hospital admissions have become less and less over time. Most medical care can be done on an ambulatory set-up, or so-called daycare setting. In fact, many conditions can now be managed remotely wherever you are. 

Being ambulatory roughly equates to moving around. Hence ambulatory care revolves around outpatient services, with hardly any need for hospital admission. At its most basic, you get yourself to a medical facility, have all your interventions done during the day, then head back home. Many medical conditions, ranging from emergencies to chronic conditions, easily render themselves to appropriate management in an ambulatory set-up.

There are many gains with ambulatory healthcare, top among them being cost savings. It is estimated that surgery performed in a daycare setting costs 30-60 per cent less compared to an inpatient approach. Once you have had a medical intervention done, recovery in familiar surroundings rather than in a hospital is associated with more desirable outcomes. You also run lower risks of hospital-related complications that range from infections to additional incidental interventions.

Many health facilities have the capacity to provide ambulatory care. That means they have the right infrastructure, the right processes, appropriate staffing and solid follow-up procedures. Your preliminary medical evaluation must also deem your condition to be suitable for ambulatory care. Once all boxes are ticked, your overall outcomes will supersede the care you might have gotten as an inpatient.

Healthcare providers have a duty to provide as much care as possible within ambulatory set-ups. This adds up to overall efficiency and effectiveness. Hospitals accrue savings on bed space and associated hospitality, sparing inpatient care to only a selected and deserving minority.

Financial savings mean more focused investments tuned to further improvements in service delivery. Better patient outcomes accrue along the way, with lower rates of negative statistics that may include death rates.

Unfortunately, ambulatory care may not be a default recommendation whenever and wherever you seek healthcare. If hospital admission is recommended, don’t just accept it blindly.

Ask if ambulatory care would be a viable alternative. If it isn’t deemed appropriate, ask why not. You will be surprised at how many people are admitted in hospitals for flimsy reasons. Sometimes it’s to do with outdated practices, or inadequate capacity. The unscrupulous may admit you in hospitals for selfish reasons. 

A balanced approach to healthcare means avoidance of hospital admissions in the majority of situations.

Dr Alfred Murage is a Consultant Gynaecologist and Fertility Specialist. [email protected]

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