News & Events

  • Title : Continuing care for chronic diseases sufferers is advised amid COVID-19 outbreak
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  • Fear of COVID-19 is changing our lives. The ‘Social Distancing’ campaign is now part of our daily lives and people are avoiding crowds. There are people who hesitate to visit a hospital or delay surgeries even when they are sick.

    The problem is that it can be dangerous for patients with chronic diseases who need to be cared for or prescribed medicine regularly. Doctors keep warning that delaying care can lead to serious consequences.

    “When patients with chronic diseases such as hypertension or diabetes run out of medicine, they should not delay their visit to the hospital,” said Professor Jeong Hyeon Kim of Family Medicine at Hallym University Chuncheon Sacred Heart Hospital. “If they stop taking medicine, their symptoms can be worse,” he added.

    It could be more dangerous especially for patients with chronic pulmonary diseases if they stop taking their medication or reduce the dose of medicine without a doctor’s order.

    “There are patients who thought the COVID-19 will end soon, delayed their visit to the hospital, but come to see a doctor belatedly due to the prolonged situation,” said Professor Yun Su Sim of Pulmonary, Allergy & Critical Care Medicine at Hallym University Kangnam Sacred Heart Hospital. “If a COPD patient stops medication or reduce the dose without having a consultation with a doctor,” she warned, “he or she might experience reduced lung function and difficulty in breathing.”

    If you are worried about visiting a hospital because of the spread of infectious diseases, choosing a designated public relief hospital could be a good option.

    HUMC’s four hospitals—Hallym University Sacred Heart Hospital, Hallym University Kangnam Sacred Heart Hospital, Hallym University Chuncheon Sacred Heart Hospital, and Hallym University Dongtan Sacred Heart Hospital—have been designated as the public relief hospitals by the Ministry of Health and Welfare. The above mentioned hospitals separately manage the pathway of respiratory patients and strictly block the entry of suspected COVID-19 patients by screening all visitors’ respiratory symptoms, fever, and travel history.

    All the medical personnel who cares pulmonary patients wear personal protective equipment to prevent the spread of infection to other units. It is literally a blockade of all the possible entry of coronavirus.

    HUMC has developed and used a real-time monitoring system that can quickly distinguish suspected COVID-19 patients from the reservation to actual medical care using the IT system since February.

    In order to develop this system, HUMC operated the COVID-19 Rapid Response Team from February, and established a classification system to distinguish suspected patients. It also made and systemized patient response scenarios according to 18 different situations including the ones whether a patient visited the infected area, went to a triage clinic, or got tested for COVID-19.

    This system provides doctors with information on the current status of patients during the registration process or while patients are being tested at the triage center in real-time, and it also recommends ways to treat each patient according to the patient’s situation.

    All medical staff at HUMC are using this new IT system to provide patients with more safe and prompt care.

    Public relief hospital is a designated hospital that reduces the fear of COVID-19 infection and provides safe care by separating the movement paths and clinical space between general patients and pulmonary patients for infection control. In Korea, there are 344 hospitals designated as public relief hospitals by the government as of April 13, 2020.

    By Jonghun Im, Int’l Cooperation Team, HUMC (