BMC fights COVID-19 pandemic: Psycho-social counselling making an impact

Bhubaneswar: The COVID-19 positive cases remaining at home isolation are no longer anxious, stressed and fearful about the disease, thanks to the initiatives and counselling by the clinical psychologists and psychiatric social worker at the 1929 Call Centre. Majority of the people, contacting the call centre and are in home isolation are now happy with their present arrangement and they feel that this could be a better alternative for asymptomatic and mild symptomatic positive cases.
The counsellors are also helping the shifting cases to hospitals. Three counsellors, two clinical psychologists and one psychiatric social worker from Capital Hospital Bhubaneswar, are deputed at the 1929 Call Centre at the Bhubaneswar Operations Centre (BOC) of Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited for the psycho-social counselling due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation. The team include Lipika Lopamudra Mallik and Susena Nayak, both clinical psychologists and Smrutilekha Dash, psychiatric social worker. The counsellors are working in shifts along with other executives of Smart City managing the call centre.
According to the team the people undergoing home isolation are suffering from various issues like loneliness, boredom, confinement-like issues besides the usual anxiety associated with being a COVID-19 positive.
“We counsel them as to how to deal with their stress as they should not be extremely worried if they are asymptomatic or mild symptomatic and some are also given tips on the utility of their time at home and how to develop positive thought while undergoing the process,’’ said Lipika Lopamudra, clinical psychologist.
In fact, the counsellors have observed that many are suffering from anxiety due to the thoughts of their family members as they suspect that the infection might affect all in the family. Some people when in hospital are worried about their kids at home or vice versa.
“As many people have given their number and when the kids pick up at home, counselling the kids about their father/mother is a little bit challenging. However, many people are now comfortable staying in home isolation as they feel that they are staying in better way, with family on their side and hospitalization might have been a bitter experience,’’ said Smrutilelkha, psychiatric social worker.
Besides the psycho-social counsellors at the 1929 Call Centre at Smart City, the contact tracing team consisting doctors are drawn from three medical colleges i.e. SCB Medical College, Cuttack, Saheed Laxman Nayak Medical College and Hospital, Koraput and Fakir Mohan Medical College and Hospital, Balasore at BMC are also helping in counselling the people undergoing home isolation and shifting. There are six doctors from these three medical colleges and hospitals and all are specializing with Community Medicine. Similarly, there are seven AYUSH doctors from the National Health Mission project.
It can be noted here that till August 23 1,828 COVID-19 positive cases were allowed to be in home isolation across the city and out of which 988 has recovered completely.

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