Document Type : Original Article

Authors

1 Commanding Officer, Military Hospital Shimla, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India

2 Specialist (Radiodiagnosis and Imaging), Military Hospital Shimla, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India

3 Medical Officer, Military Hospital Shimla, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India

4 Specialist (Otorhinolaryngology), Military Hospital Shimla, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India

5 Specialist (Hospital Administration), Military Hospital Shimla, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India

Abstract

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the diversion of all the resources, attention, and energy of the medical personnel and administration towards management of COVID patients which resulted in unforeseen difficulties and hazards for non-COVID patients in accessing healthcare professionals and facilities.



Objectives: To analyze the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and repeated lockdowns on the non-COVID patients; to understand the social, psychological, and medical issues faced by them; and propose solutions for difficulties faced by this specific cohort of patients.



Methods: We conducted a retrospective observational study on all non-Covid patients reporting for non-COVID illnesses. We conducted the data analysis by comparing the trends for 15 months each in the pre-pandemic (01 Jan 2019 to 31 Mar 2020) and pandemic period (01 Apr 2020 to 30 Jun 2021).



Results: There was a 65.92% decrease in Out Patient Department (OPD) attendance, a 56.05% decrease in admissions, and a 90.33 % decrease in elective surgical procedures in non-COVID patients. However, there was a significant increase in emergency surgeries by 62.16%.



Conclusion: There has been a significant albeit much-needed diversion of time, energy, and resources to manage COVID-19 patients in recent times. This has led to a paucity of care opportunities for non-COVID patients, which has been further compounded by the frequent lockdowns. We attempt to understand the impact of the pandemic on non-COVID patients, particularly in peripheral hospitals in hilly terrains. We propose the solutions to tackle these issues and describe our experience with them.

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