May 17, 2020

Apollo Hospitals opens a new geriatric clinic as a result of India’s ageing population

Public Hospital
Private Hospital
healthcare services
Catherine Sturman
3 min
Apollo Hospitals have created new patient facilities dedicated to its growing elderly population, it has recently been reported.

Since its inception in...

Apollo Hospitals have created new patient facilities dedicated to its growing elderly population, it has recently been reported.

Since its inception in the early 1980s, Apollo has emerged as one of the most well-respected healthcare providers within India.

Encompassing 70 hospitals, 100 clinics and 2400 pharmacies across 140 countries, Apollo Hospitals provides in order to provide swift diagnostics and personalised care plans tailored to each individual.

To this effect, India’s dense population has seen the need for increased health services, especially for its elderly population. Care services are limited but in high demand, whilst the number of health professionals specialising in geriatric care remains scarce, with a shortage of doctors and medical professionals in both India’s public and private healthcare systems.

The new clinics will ultimately benefit a large chunk of India’s population, where the integrated healthcare provider aims to open up a further five clinics to support this growing need, and embed these services in over 60 hospitals in India long-term. Additionally, to support its increased revenues, it is looking to acquire a number of smaller hospitals, following on from gaining a stake in Assam Hospitals last year.

“Geriatric clinic will provide comprehensive care, addressing patients medical, psychological and rehabilitative needs, said Vasanth Kumar, a Geriatric Consultant at The Hospital Group. “Besides focusing on treating the elderly will majorly lay thrust on preventive care even before they have a problem.”

Their aggressive expansion plans will see Apollo Hospitals look towards further Indian cities, such as Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru. The clinics will encompass four zones – emergency and home care, out-patient and in-patient care, and provide personalised services, such as tailored care plans, areas for patients to improve their quality of life, besides the use of medication and various other essential assessments.

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Treatments will also be extensive, covering areas such as memory loss, fractures from falls, medicine management and many more. There will consequently be a significant employment drive for medical staff throughout India whilst Apollo Hospitals works on growing its technologies to support patient health.

Last month, Ms Shobana Kamineni, Executive Vice Chairperson of Apollo Hospitals said: “Apollo is the first healthcare organisation to realise that it couldn't standardise multiple hospitals and patient services without the use of new technology.

Embedding technology innovation and bench to bedside research into Apollo’s ecosystem is of paramount importance. These are cornerstones of a consistently evolving patient centric healthcare system”.

Mr Seemant Jauhari, CEO of Apollo Research & Innovations (ARI),  also commented that "it's about staying more aware about one`s health and staying healthy" and “if someone is highly predisposed to cardiovascular disease and their clinical assessment is on the borderline, our physicians can proactively monitor a patient`s lipid profile, for example."

New clinics

Apollo Hospitals constantly looks at ways in which to improve its service delivery and cater towards growing patient demands. Not only has the provider looked at developing new geriatric clinics, but has also recently overhauled its cardiology specialist areas through the launch of a new Centre of Excellence for condition Chronic Total Occlusion (CTO).

The use of organ transplantation has also become a key focus for Apollo Hospitals. Becoming renowned in India, its transplant program has been running for over twenty years, and is constantly revised in line with new guidelines, standards, procedures and innovative technologies bought to the table. It’s liver transplant program is one of the most well renowned and successfully areas of expertise globally.

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Jun 14, 2021

Long haul Covid, the brain and digital therapies

4 min
Neuroplasticity expert Ashok Gupta tells us about the symptoms of long Covid, how it affects the brain, and digital therapies

It is estimated that around 10% of people who get Covid-19 develop long haul Covid, a debilitating condition that can last many months and cause breathlessness, exhaustion and pain. 

Research is underway to find out who is more likely to get it and how to treat it. Here neuroplasticity expert and owner of Harley Street Solutions in London Ashok Gupta tells us how the condition affects the brain. 

What is long Covid exactly? 

Long Covid is when patients who have experienced Covid-19 go on to have continuing symptoms for weeks and months afterwards. These symptoms can include breathlessness, exhaustion, brain fog, gastric issues, pain, and post-exertional malaise. It is estimated that around 10% of Covid-19 infections may result in developing long haul symptoms, and in the USA, this may be affecting over 3 million people.

How does it affect the brain?
Here at our clinic, we hypothesise that it is due to a malfunction in the unconscious brain, creating a conditioned response that keeps the body in a hyper-aroused state of defensiveness. At the core of this hypothesis is the idea that we are here because our nervous system and immune system have evolved to survive. We are survival machines!

When we encounter something such as Covid-19, the brain perceives it as life threatening, and rightly so. And in the era of the pandemic, with more stress, anxiety and social isolation, our immunity may be compromised, and therefore it may take longer for the immune system to fight off the virus and recover. 

If the brain makes the decision that this is potentially life threatening and we get to the stage where we’re overcoming the virus, a legacy is left in the brain; it keeps over-responding to anything that reminds us of the virus. Even if we’ve fought off the virus, the brain will react in a precautionary way to stimuli reminiscent of the virus. 

The brain may get stuck in that overprotective response, and keeps stimulating our nervous system and our immune system, just in case the virus may still be present.

What symptoms does this cause? 

These signals cause a cascade of symptoms including breathlessness, extreme fatigue, brain fog, loss of taste or smell, headaches, and many others. And these are caused by our own immunes system.

In the case of long-haul Covid, symptoms in the body get detected by a hypersensitive brain which thinks we’re still in danger. The brain then chronically stimulates the immune and nervous systems, and then we have a continuation of a chronic set of symptoms.

This isn’t unique to long-haul Covid. Many patients develop chronic fatigue syndrome, sometimes known as “ME”, for example, after the flu, a stomach bug, or respiratory illness. Covid-19 may be a severe trigger of a form of chronic fatigue syndrome or ME.

How does long-haul Covid affect mental health? 
Anxiety is a very common symptom in long haulers. It can be frightening to wonder about what may be happening in your body, and what the prognosis is going to be for one’s long term health. Reaching out for support for mental health is crucial for long-haulers.

How does neuroplasticity treatment work for long-haul COVID patients?
We have been working with patients for two decades with a brain retraining programme using neuroplasticity or “limbic retraining.” 

We believe that through neural rewiring, the brain can be “persuaded” that we are no longer in danger and to come back to homeostasis. But to be very clear, we are not saying it is psychological in any way, but we believe there are novel ways of accessing the unconscious brain. 

We recently worked successfully with a 56-year-old male with long-haul Covid, who prior to contracting Covid-19 in March of 2020 was running half-marathons and cycling, but afterwards he struggled to get off the sofa for months. Within 3 months he’s now back to 100% and  running half marathons again.

At our clinic, we train the patient to be able to recognise those subtle unconscious danger signals on the periphery of consciousness. This, coupled with supportive techniques and the natural hallmarks of good health such as sleep and diet help prepare the patient to respond to perceived threats that might trigger the response. 

The natural state of our brain is to default to protection. The brain prioritises survival and passing on our genes to the next generation, over any other impulse. It cares more about that than you feeling healthy and well. Protective responses are evolutionary, and are the right thing for the brain to do – it’s survival. 

What digital therapies or apps are proving effective at treating long-haul Covid? 
It seems that long haul patients are availing themselves of many online therapies and services, including meditation apps and wellness websites. We have an online neuroplasticity “brain retraining” video course called the “Gupta Program” which hosts 15 interactive videos and many audio exercises. This is proving very popular with long haul patients, and we are currently conducting a trial to test the effectiveness of this therapy. 

What is the danger of leaving long-haul Covid untreated?
The longer it goes untreated, we hypothesise that it may become more entrenched in the brain, and  become chronic in the longer term. Therefore we advise all patients to get help and advice as soon as possible.

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