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Confusion arises on the first day of new homecare guidelines

Confusion arises on the first day of new homecare guidelines

Posted February. 11, 2022 07:38,   

Updated February. 11, 2022 07:38


The South Korean disease control authorities implemented new homecare guidelines for COVID-19 patients on Thursday. Patients who are not considered to be a high-risk group should receive prescriptions and consultation from local clinics or use a 24-hour homecare medical consultation center without regular monitoring. Homecare kits containing necessary supplies, such as a thermometer and fever reducer, are not provided either. However, patients have not been informed of such changes in the guidelines, which led to confusion. Some have not received guidelines for non-face-to-face treatment and local clinics that offer such treatment are hard to be reached due to heavy call volume.

While confusion continues, written guidelines for homecare have not been released yet. The disease control authorities said they would be announced early next week.

Clinics providing remote treatment are also experiencing confusion. “We are getting many patients who want to get tested for COVID-19 and receiving a lot of calls for treatment. There is a waiting period of 30 minutes to one hour for remote treatment via phone,” said a clinic specialized in the respiratory system in Seocho, Seoul. “It takes at least 10 minutes to respond to a patient even when I am familiar with his or her condition or pre-existing conditions. For first-time patients, it takes longer to collect accurate information,” said the head doctor of a respiratory system clinic in Seongdong, Seoul.

One of the factors leading to the confusion is that there are too many types of clinics for homecare treatment. On the website of the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service alone, there are five types – respiratory system-specialized clinics, designated medical institutions for respiratory system treatment, local hospitals and clinics for over-the-phone consultation and prescription, homecare medical consultation centers, and homecare management medical institutions. Adding medical institutions serving different functions, such as screening stations, temporary screening test sites, PCR test sites, and rapid antigen test sites, there are over 10 types. “I was searching for a remote treatment center on the Internet but there are so many different types and their names are unfamiliar, which makes it hard to figure out which one to contact,” said a COVID-19 patient.