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COVID-19 and the Family Practice Provider

COVID-19 and the Family Practice Provider

Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the economic system has certainly been negatively affected. As covid-19 continues its exponential growth across the world, it has taken a financial hit on all businesses, including the health care systems. The Coronavirus outbreak affects Schools, Universities, Cinemas, Concert halls, Theaters, Pubs, Restaurant, Shopping malls and other small businesses. Many People have lost their jobs and shops have closed down as a result of this pandemic. Many people find themselves in isolation with their family or being completely alone. Many People are lonely, afraid and depressed. This novel Coronavirus has been a source of catastrophic social and economic crisis. People now make use of social media to share emotions and mobilize people to take actions. Words of encouragement, support and hope are being used to show love on the internet. The Coronavirus pandemic has changed the face of the world as we know it.
 
HOW HAS COVID-19 AFFECTED THE FAMILY PRACTICE?

The ways in which the Coronavirus pandemic has affected the health care system is widely varied and has highlighted several inherent weaknesses in our health care system. Such as problems with accessing the essential facilities needed to tackle the pandemic, protective equipment for health care provider above all Health Care Provider. The Health Care Provider, Clinicians and physicians are becoming infected following contact with infected patients with COVID-19. Some clinical staff have even lost their lives fighting this novel Coronavirus. The emotional impact of Covid-19 pandemic on the public is unparalleled.

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused some specialists to be taken out of the picture with marked restriction of nonurgent medical services, specialties like dermatology and different surgical specialties. They have been restricted to emergency care only and this may create financial stress for these clinicians and their employed staff and other clinicians like hospitalist’s, ICU clinicians, pulmonary specialists, and impatient specialists.

Many healthcare providers find themselves socially isolated from their own families to protect them from COVID-19 exposure risks. Family Physicians are also dealing with new forms of stress. Many of them easily feel ill as a result of new way of practice. Generalists are used to assessing patients based on the knowledge of the patients as well as observations (what is seen and heard). Physical examination is nearly essential for physicians to carry out a proper diagnosis. As a result of Covid-19 pandemic, they diagnose without seeing the patients and at times without knowing the health background of an individual. The physician caring for patients has been transformed from a holistic, multi-professional service into providing prescription and making the occasional telehealth call. The use of telemedicine can be extremely useful, but for example, it is difficult to assess patients suffering with diabetes condition as to whether it is under control and whether a COPD patient’s condition is exacerbating.

When there is need for a Family physician to see a patient, they need to protect themselves with masks, goggles, gloves and protective coveralls. Greeting a patient with handshake is forbidden and a physician must be in gloves before they can touch patients.

Without proper diagnosis it is difficult for family doctors to accurately distinguish between people suffering with bronchitis or common cold and those infected with the novel 2019 Coronavirus. This makes it difficult to know what patients are experiencing a mild respiratory infection and who will be admitted in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) since patients with Coronavirus also have symptoms of respiratory infection. In order to be on the safer side, the physicians need to be careful and always protect themselves whenever there is a need to physically touch patients.

Many health professionals such as clinicians, physicians, laboratory scientists, Nurses and Family Doctors are disproportionately at risk for addiction, depression, anxiety and mental health issues. They have to care for other people and at the same time be cautious. On top of that, many clinicians will be dealing with death on a scale that even a seasoned professional had never faced before.
It is very a tough time for Physicians; they need to shoulder the responsibility and provide support to many long-term patients and to their own families.

Family Physicians also play a crucial role in Covid-19 research through the accurate registration of all their COVID-19 patients, both the survivors and the deceased including the patients with covid-19 symptoms who were not tested and those that tested positive for a virus. Documenting this information is essential in other to obtain reliable data. The health record contains basic physical characteristics (age, sex, weight, height), laboratory test results, comorbidity conditions, health history, symptoms, signs and medication.

Family physicians and their staffs work in the front line in saving patients during the covid-19 pandemic. They have to protect themselves, family and their patients. They play a central role in tackling this pandemic. The Family physicians, hospital specialist, public health experts, data scientist, and virologists should work together to fight the novel Coronavirus.

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