Centre asks states, UTs to allow COVID-19 patients use smartphones to interact with kin

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New Delhi: The Centre has written to all states and Union Territories (UTs) stating that smartphones and tablet devices should be allowed for hospitalised COVID-19 patients. This will help them interact with family and friends through video conferencing. It will be a huge psychological support for COVID-19 patients.

Though mobile phones are allowed in hospital wards, the missive was issued following some complaints from kin of patients.

Director General of Health Services (DGHS) in the Health Ministry Dr Rajiv Garg has sent the letter with new directions. The letterswere sent to all the principal secretaries of health and medical departments of states and UTs. The letter said appropriate protocols for disinfecting devices should be followed. Also the hospitals can and allot time slots so that COVID-19 patients and their families can interact.

Dr Garg underlined that administrative and medical teams should be responsive to the psychological needs of patients admitted in COVID-19 wards.

“Social connection can calm down patients and also reinforce the psychological support given by the treating team. Please instruct all concerned that they should allow smartphones and tablet devices in patient area. This will enable the patient do video conference with their family and friends,” stated the letter issued July 29.

“Mobile phones are allowed in the COVID-19 wards to enable a patient stay in touch with his or her family. However, we received representations from the patient families from some states. They said mobile phones are not being allowed by hospital administrations. This is preventing them from being in contact with the patient,” said Dr Garg.