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Home ICU setup for COVID-19 patients: All you need to know

[] Setting up an ICU at home for COVID-19 patients is recommended in extreme situations. Here is everything you need to know about it

With hospitals running out of beds and intensive care units (ICU) for patients needing hospitalisation due to the COVID-19 second wave, families are left with very little choice but to opt for the next best solution. Several hospitals and private medical agencies have now come up with home ICU setup for COVID-19 and package services to treat patients with moderate and critical symptoms. These are often combined with strict supervision of a trained nurse and in some cases on-call doctors, to keep track of the patient’s recovery and constantly check on the vitals. Here is everything you need to know about setting up an ICU at home.

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COVID-19: Who needs ICU care at home?

According to Dr Rahul Saxena, a practicing chest specialist and on-duty doctor for COVID-19 wards, an intensive care unit at home is suitable for patients who have severe or life-threatening illness or injuries. He further adds, “For patients suffering from COVID-19, the requirement of ICU depends on the severity of the symptoms and comorbidities that may need to be supervised. This could be a critical case of pneumonia along with other terminal illnesses. However, a home ICU setup during COVID-19, is being advised only as a last resort, in case the hospitals are unable to provide ICU care to the patient in their own premises. Also, as intensive care treatment at home is a highly skilled task, it has to be provided by an expert medical team only.”

Saxena adds that patients who have moderate COVID-19 symptoms can opt for screening packages, where home isolation wards are created, with proper arrangements and essential medical equipment, such as pulse oximeter, oxygen machine, BiPAP, nebuliser, etc.

Home ICU setup for COVID-19 patients: All you need to know

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What is included in the home ICU set up for COVID-19 patients?

While there are several packages available now, which cater to the requirements of COVID-19 patients, an individual assessment has to be made by the doctor, to suggest what medical ICU setup equipment will be required for the care. The standard ICU at home services for COVID-19 patients includes:

Medical equipment: Since an ICU setup requires technologically-advanced medical equipment, the need may vary from patient to patient. Usually it requires a para monitor, suction machine, alpha mattress, nebuliser, DVT pump, IV stand and an oxygen cylinder or oxygen concentrator. In specialised cases, ventilator and BiPAP machines are also provided in the ICU set up.

Critical care staff: Depending upon the requirement and criticality of the situation, nursing staff are provided, to take care of the patient’s daily medical needs like administering injections and medicines, handling medical equipment, consultation with doctors, etc. You may also hire your own nursing staff and not depend on the agencies for providing the team.

ICU bed: All ICU packages come with specialised beds that are important to avoid bedsores, as it can result in severe infection hindering the recovery process.

Power backup: Usually the backup machines are provided by the agencies setting up the ICU but due to the ongoing pandemic, there is a huge shortage of equipment. This may have to be arranged by the patient’s family and it would be mandatory, in case the household encounters electricity cuts.

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Home ICU setup cost in India for COVID-19 patients

Owing to the ongoing second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the cost of setting up a proper health infrastructure has gone up tremendously. While the exact price of setting up an ICU at home may depend upon the requirement of the patient and the location, here is a brief estimation of the services offered by various agencies:

Item Cost
Cost of medical equipment Rs 10,000 – Rs 25,000 per day (seven days minimum)
24-hour trained nurse Rs 8,000 per day (seven days minimum)
Doctor consultation (on-call/telephonic) Rs 2,000 per call
24-hour caregiver Rs 4,000 per day (10 days minimum)
Regular COVID-19 care package Rs 6,000 per day onwards

Also, please note that the entire amount has to be paid in advance. The minimum package is for seven days, which would be extended as per the requirement.

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Tips for setting up ICU at home for COVID-19 patients

  • Ensure that the nursing staff is certified and has undergone training in ICUs in major hospitals. They should be able to handle emergency situations and have vital supplies and medications with them.
  • Opt for an agency that can provide 24×7 ambulance services at the time of emergency and give access to empanelled doctors, who can provide the right treatment to the patient without losing precious time.
  • The room where the patient is kept and ICU setup is done, has to be cleaned at least twice a day and proper hygiene must be maintained at all times. Proper precautions have to be taken to keep the patient isolated.
  • ICU beds should have an alpha mattress, to avoid bedsores. This is usually included in the package.


What are the equipment used for COVID-19 patients in ICU?

Some of the basic equipment required for COVID-19 patients are BPAP system, syringe pump, oxygen cylinder/concentrator, ventilator, patient monitor.

What does the monitor in ICU show?

The patient monitor records heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature. Some machines also display SpO2.

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Category: Must Knows

Debora Berti

Università degli Studi di Firenze, IT

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