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More Ugandans opting for home care nursing

Many are opting out of hospital admissions to treatment at home

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The strain of busy modern lifestyles and the ever-declining public healthcare system is leading to a rise in the demand for Home Care Nursing.

Private nursing services offer holistic healthcare to terminally ill and elderly people in their homes. They also provide care services within hospitals to individuals who can pay for professional individualized cared.

Margaret Busingye Bashaija was faced with a decision of either leaving her job or take care of her mother who suffers from heart complications.

Her mother who was admitted to the ICU in a hospital needed round the clock care but due to the demands of her job at the Bank of Uganda, Busingye was torn apart.

Stressed and fatigued after looking after her mother for weeks, Margaret was advised to get a bedside nurse so that she can retain her job.

Busingye describes her decision to hire a home care nurse as the best she has ever made.

To date, her mother is still alive and using the same nurse.  Following her ordeal, Busingye decided to take action to help others who might be in her same position.

In 2016, Busingye decided to start Tick Bedside Nursing Care, a company that offers home or hospital nursing services. She says her main aim was to help other families that are struggling to look after their sick relatives as they maintain their jobs.

Many of the bedside nursing facilities that URN visited were opened following a need for round the clock medical care.

Dr Charles Marina, the Chief Executive Officer of the Guardian Home Medical Care says that he was prompted to open up a home care nursing facility after his father-in-law fell sick.

“This service helps the family and the patients. Even if the patient is critically ill, after three days of having trained health workers looking after them round the clock, their condition normally improves,” he said.

The home offers a variety of services ranging from critical care to postnatal/surgery care and counseling. Some also offer care for patients suffering from mental illnesses.

While the services provide relief for families, it is also a source of employment for nurses who would otherwise be jobless. Annually, over 2,000 nurses graduate, but few of them are employed by the government or private health facilities.

There are currently 1,345 registered graduate nurses according to statistics provided by the Nurses and Midwives Council.

The companies employ trained nurses that are registered with the Nurses and Midwives Council.  However, due to limited demand for the services, only a few nurses can be employed permanently.

“This service is mostly sought-after by families who have heard about it. Many people do not know it and those who know might look at it as being expensive. So we can only employ few nurses, around 5 at any given time depending on the number of patients that we have. The rest we employ from a pool temporarily,” Busingye says.

Depending on the needs of the service, the companies charge between 40,000 to 50,000 shillings a day for full-time care. As part of this package, a patient is bathed, fed, clothes changed and even given medication at the right time.

“These nurses become part of the family. They are qualified and respectful and always advocate for what is in the interest of the patient,” Busingye added.

Angela Ilakut, the registrar of the Nurses and Midwives Council says home care nursing is a needed service. She says hospitals are understaffed and trained nurses are not equipped to provide the best care they can give to patients.

“Every patient needs a trained health care worker to look after them. This is a growing service that is much needed in the country because when sick people get out of hospitals, they need care,” she said.

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