New Care Model Preserves Hospital Capacity For Those  Who Need It

As Covid-19 becomes endemic in Singapore, more people are expected to get infected but have mild symptoms.

Thus, as the focus shifts to the number of critically ill cases that need to take up hospital capacity, home recovery becomes even more necessary.

To that end, the Home Recovery Pilot Programme will be extended to those up to 69 years old.

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However, those eligible must be fully vaccinated and not have severe comorbidities or illnesses.

Home recovery the default in many countries

The expansion was announced by Health Minister Ong Ye Kong at a press conference of the Covid-19 Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) on Friday (17 Sep).

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He said home recovery – where the case isolates at home (or in a designated room if they don’t live alone) – is the default in many countries around the world.

A benefit is that those eligible can immediately start home recovery when they test positive, without the need to go to hospital or a designated facility.

Previous age limit was 50

The Home Recovery Programme has been the default care management model since Tuesday (15 Sep), but its previous upper age limit was 50 years old.

Children below 12 are also not eligible for home recovery.

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Besides age, other requirements are that the patient:

  1. is fully vaccinated
  2. has mild or no symptoms
  3. has no severe comorbidities or illnesses
  4. doesn’t live with vulnerable people like: seniors over 80 years old, pregnant women, immunocompromised individuals and those with multiple comorbidities
  5. can isolate in a room that preferably has an attached bathroom

The patient’s household members will also have to be placed under Home Quarantine Order (HQO).

Check out this Ministry of Health (MOH) webpage for more information on home recovery.

597 cases on home recovery

Since the pilot started on 30 Aug, many people have already started on their home recovery journey.

In a press release on Friday (17 Sep), MOH said 597 fully vaccinated Covid-19 cases had embarked upon the scheme.

This also includes 13 children between 5-11.

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The figure is almost one-third of the community cases for the last 2 days, MOH added, which is “highly encouraging”.

Happily, 32 of these cases have already been discharged.

7 in 10 to be eligible for home recovery

While almost one-third of cases have gone on home recovery so far, Mr Ong said this figure should go up to 7 in 10 in the coming week.

MOH has thus urged all Covid-19 cases who’re eligible to go on home recovery.

They also compared the process to how someone would recover from the flu.

The confidence in adopting this care model is gained from knowing that fully vaccinated people are less likely to have severe illness due to Covid-19, especially if they’re under 70.

Home recovery will help us open up further

Among those who unfortunately get infected with Covid-19, we’re sure many would prefer home recovery if they’re eligible for it.

This not only provides a safe and comfortable place to convalesce, but also allows MOH to divert hospital resources to those who need intensive care.

As this will ensure our hospital resources aren’t stretched, hopefully this will allow Singapore to relax more measures even as the number of cases goes up.

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Featured image adapted from Marie & JB on Flickr.