KMPDC flags 3 facilities offering home-based ICU care for Covid-19 patients

The medical council has penalised three health service providers for what it says are misleading advertisements on home-based care for Covid-19 patients.

The council warned the public against the three facilities, saying further that they have not been registered by any regulatory body.

It said their advertisements are “misleading and geared towards obtaining money by false pretense”.

The KMPDC ordered Apex, Utunzaji and Wholistic to pull down all their advertisements and pay a fine of Sh500,000 each within 14 days.

What is needed

KMPDC explained that ICU care is “specialised treatment provided by trained health professionals who include medical specialists, critical care nurses and pharmacists, among others”.

“We note that the Intensive Care Unit caters to patients with severe or life threatening illnesses or injuries, which require constant care and supervision from a multidisciplinary medical team,” Chief Executive Officer Daniel Yumbya said in the statement.

The council added that the equipment used in ICU care includes an ICU bed with a flexible mattress, uninterrupted oxygen supply, ventilator, blood gas analyser, patient monitor, infusion pumps, defibrillator, and trained critical care staff.

“For this reason, it is not possible to offer ICU caste at home as purported by the advertisements,” Mr Yumbya said.

Facilities strained

An ICU is a sophisticated room where, although silent, an array of vital sign monitors used to read the patient’s heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation, and multiple oxygen and vacuum ports, are mounted on the wall above the patient’s bed.

The ICU bed capacity across the country is so strained that many health workers are warning that some patients, who may end up developing critical versions of Covid-19, may not be able to access an ICU.

This is one of the reasons that members of the public may be considering home-based setups.

Homecare is health care or supportive care provided by a professional caregiver in the individual home where the patient or client is living, as opposed to care provided in group accommodations like clinics or nursing homes.

The Ministry of Health launched home-based isolation and care protocol in June last year to ease the burden on health facilities.

As of Thursday, MoH data showed 257 patients were under home-based care while 261 of the more than 1,600 hospitalised patients were in the ICU.

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