Though rules say only one attendant per patient and a limited number of visitors, the Jigme Dorji Wangchuk National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) patient’s ward is facing a problem of excess attendants and visitors.
JDWNRH patient’s ward has instances of more than one attendant and more than a dozen visitors coming during visiting hours, according to medical superintendent, Dr. Gosar Pemba.
Talking about the risk of infection, Dr. Gosar Pemba said there are chances of ‘hospital acquired infection’ where a sick visitor could easily transmit infection to a patient who is already sick, worsening the patient’s condition.
On the other hand, the visitors can also get infection from a patient if a person’s immunity is low. “The more people come and visit, the more chance of catching another disease,” Dr. Gosar Pemba said.
“We do not want too many people to visit but our culture is to visit patients. During visiting hours in the evening, one can see around 15 to 30 visitors for a patient at a time and so the chance of the patient getting more infection is very high,” he said.
He said that healthy children below 12 years should not generally visit hospitals because children are more susceptible to getting infection.
Dr. Pemba said that without realizing the risk involved, usually the family is in the hospital along with the kids.
He also shared incidents where the children were playing on the patient ward’s infectious floor while parents were not stopping them.
He also said that some visitors rush into Intensive Care Unit (ICU) forcefully even though the security tries to stop them.
Though the hospital advises attendants not to eat food at hospital but five to six people are usually found taking food together.
On top of that, he added that some people threw away left away food without proper disposal and stray dogs gathers in and around the hospital campus.
People have also habit of dirtying toilets by spitting doma and throwing in rubbish. “One way we expect good environment or infrastructure and on the other hand we are poor at using that infrastructure,” he added.
“People must realize that the government cannot provide health alone, and health cannot be delivered efficiently,”he emphasized.
He said people do not seem to know on what they should do and not to do while visiting a hospital.
To address such issues, the hospital has plans to introduce health messages to make the people aware through the media and other outlets by communicating the dos and don’ts.
However, when the paper talked to some patients and their family members they said that they needed more attendants as the wards did not have enough manpower with a shortage of nurses. Family members also pointed out to lack of facilities like changing rooms and clean toilets in the wards. On food some attendants said that they ended up eating with patients as the hospital had no separate area for attendants to eat.