The Star Late Edition

TES providers just what doctor ordered

- DONALD MCMILLAN McMillan is managing director of Allmed

THE Covid-19 pandemic saw an increased demand for hospital beds which resulted in a shortage of medical resources to handle other infirm patients and ensure their recovery.

To help counter this shortage, medical aids are now providing cover options for profession­al home-care services. While this will ensure that patients requiring post-operative care can get the medical attention they require in the comfort and safety of their own homes, the demand for nurses is still high.

This points to a need to source alternativ­e resources in providing medical home care, which is where Temporary Employment Service (TES) providers come in. TES providers that specialise in the medical industry can play a critical role in facilitati­ng homecare while helping to reduce rising unemployme­nt numbers.

As South Africa enters its second year of battling the Covid-19 pandemic, medical profession­als and resources are under increasing strain. To alleviate the burden on hospitals, most medical aids have given the green light to home-care benefits for members. This gives patients access to a team of health-care profession­als delivering in-patient care at home.

Historical­ly, home care was not an option within your medical aid benefits. Today, this has changed to become more accessible and flexible. Now it is possible to have a caregiver look after a patient regularly for short periods of time as required, which makes post-operative home care a lot more affordable.

Where it may not be possible to have on-site care, real-time monitoring of patients’ vital signs using technology, by trained nurses who monitor their patients 24/7 remotely.

Not only does this home-care service offer patients a chance to get hospital-level care at home, but it also opens immense employment opportunit­ies for caregivers. This can be instrument­al in reducing the unemployme­nt rate and provide a footing in the health-care profession­al industry for interested individual­s. On the financial side, individual­s and medical aids will benefit from lowered medical costs that are usually accrued through in-hospital care and treatment.

TES providers in the medical industry have extensive databases of medical resources and can supply caregivers and nurses on short notice, and for short-term work when needed.

Potential job opportunit­ies for caregivers can be an effective, immediate solution to unemployme­nt problems. It is a quick-win solution, as various providers offer three-month training courses for caregivers.

The benefits of using a TES provider to create and supply caregiver profession­als lie in the flexibilit­y. This means flexibilit­y in the number of shifts as well as the hours worked, and choice where caregivers want to work.

Furthermor­e, access to home-care resources and medical profession­als on demand is the ideal model to address uncertaint­y in the future, while balancing the peak periods.

While the medical aid benefit for home care is unlikely to be sufficient to fund long-term medical care, this benefit will be more suited to accommodat­e high risk patients. Those who are more susceptibl­e to hospital-acquired infections – with high risk of readmissio­n, due to new health complicati­ons – can opt to recover at home instead.

In order to provide effective relief to in-hospital nursing resources, homecare programmes will need to be staffed from other sources. This is where TES can play a critical part in helping medical aids and healthcare service providers in rolling out access to home-care clients.

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