More patients in the emergency room by scaling down chronic care


In order to prevent further overburdening of the acute care, ongoing outpatient care is of great importance

Internists are seeing the number of patients with COVID-19 in their nursing wards increasing and the impact of COVID-19 care on hospitals is enormous. This makes the partial scaling down of the plannable clinical care inevitable. Internists indicate that it is essential to allow outpatient care to continue. An important part of acute care is the result of a deterioration of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart and kidney failure. Robin Peeters, internist and chairman of the NIV: “A poorer treatment of these patients by scaling down outpatient care will lead to more complications and therefore even more patients in the emergency room.”

In addition, continuing outpatient care is essential to determine the urgency of a patient’s complaints. “After all, most patients do not go to the doctor with a diagnosis, but with a complaint.” In the first wave, an enormous decrease of more than 30% in the number of diagnoses was observed. Patients stayed out of the hospital, as a result of which clinical pictures were missed or were recognized too late. “There is a real chance that we will not see all patients with cancer, coagulation disorders, immune disorders and kidney failure in time, so that we can start the treatment too late. This can lead to permanent organ damage, which we could have prevented, or in the worst case, unnecessary death, ”says Peeters.

The continuation of outpatient care is therefore essential. “We learned a lot during the first wave and largely converted our outpatient care to consultations via telephone or video calling. Although not always optimal, we can continue to treat our patients in this way. In addition, the hospital must remain accessible for additional necessary diagnostics. ” Extensive measures are in place to ensure that it is still safe for patients to come to the hospital. *

* In a short information video medical specialists and general practitioners want to assure people with health problems that the care is safe.

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Name author and / or edited by: Dutch Internists Association
Photographer or photo agency:: RIVM
Source for this article: Dutch Internists Association
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Original title: Downscaling from chronic care will lead to even more patients in the emergency room
Target audience: Healthcare professionals, Policy makers, Informal carers, Students
Date: 2020-10-26

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