Document Type : Original Article
Military Hospital Shimla, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India
Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic resulted in the diversion of all the resources, attention, and energy of the medical personnel and administration towards the management of COVID-19 patients. This resulted in unforeseen difficulties and hazards for non-COVID-19 patients in accessing healthcare professionals and facilities.
Objectives: The objective of this study was 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-19 illnesses. We conducted the data analysis by comparing the trends for 15 months each in the pre-pandemic (1 January 2019 to 31 March 2020) and pandemic periods (1 April 2020 to 30 June 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-19 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-19 patients, which has been further compounded by the frequent lockdowns. We attempted to understand the impact of the pandemic on non-COVID-19 patients, particularly in peripheral hospitals in Hilly Terrains. We propose the solutions to tackle these issues and describe our experience with them.