The battle against the COVID-19 outbreak has not been easy. Recovering from Covid-19 is challenging mentally, physically and emotionally for those affected. While the physical aspects of medical care often improve health on an expected trajectory, emotional support is critical to full recovery. Without a network of caring individuals, it becomes extremely hard to navigate through the physical and emotional impact of this virus. Dr. Amit Prakash Srivastava emphasises that caregivers, family and friends must be prepared to support these needs in their loved ones while the doctors fight the war on the medical front.
Dr. Amit Prakash Srivastava is a Gastroenterologist practising in Lucknow for 21 years. He is a HealthPlix doctor since 2014. Keenly observing the recovery patterns of Covid-19 patients in his hospital, he gathered that mental and emotional support was highly important for the recuperation of patients and should rightly be a part of the care plan he prescribes to his patients.
Individuals in recovery from Covid-19 can experience a range of emotions along with physical symptoms like high fever, body aches and mind-numbing tiredness. Those emotions can include everything from frustration to fear, anger to guilt and most importantly — hope. These are complex emotions and can be difficult to handle alone. How a patient deals with these feelings can often be seen as directly linked to their improvement.
Dr. Amit says, “While treating my patients, I observed that they demonstrated higher rates of recovery when they felt supported physically by the caring staff at our hospital and emotionally by their family and social group. Social support can come from a variety of sources, including family, friends, romantic partners, pets, community ties, and co-workers. A support network of caring professionals and loved ones working together to ensure your continued health improves the healing process dramatically. While key treatments for health conditions often include medication, I also often prescribe talking to someone and seeking emotional support from family and friends in my treatments. Patients are more likely to see improved health when they feel emotionally supported by friends and family members.”
He recalls a recent example of one of his patients, “A patient developed high fever and was admitted to the hospital. Later, it was confirmed that he had a high virus load and was found COVID-19 positive. He was recently married and his health condition kept declining during the treatment which became a cause of worry for me and the hospital staff. After one month of treatment, he came out of danger. In this case, I observed that because of undying positive emotional support from his wife and family members, he was able to regain the motivation and pull through Covid-19 and the severe implications it had on his health.”
I believe that the fight against the pandemic is also about staying positive and spreading positivity.
“This virus has taught me is to extend mental and emotional support to the patients. The body may give up but the mind has to stay strong. I encourage my staff and colleagues to care for the patients as if they were their family members. Strong support from the family, personal care and empathy have the power to save patients’ lives,” he says.
“I see a lot of fear in the Covid-19 patients. They feel guilty about getting the virus and the possibility of being carriers. That really affects their recovery patterns. So, sometimes we have to counsel them. It’s important to spread this message that people who are affected by COVID-19 have not done anything wrong, and they deserve our support, compassion and kindness.”
“Protect yourself and be supportive to others. Showing sympathy and care can prove to be very effective. We must work together as one community to help create solidarity in addressing COVID-19 together. Find opportunities to amplify positive and hopeful stories and positive images of local people who have experienced COVID-19. For example, stories of people who have recovered or who have supported a loved one and are willing to share their experience. These small changes can bring out great impact”, concludes Dr. Amit.
Dr. Amit Prakash Srivastava practices at Noble Gastro-Liver-Endoscopy Clinic and is a professor at ERA’s Medical College & Hospital in Lucknow. He completed MD – General Medicine from Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University (IMS-BHU) in 2006, MBBS from Institute of Medical Sciences, BHU, Varanasi in 2002 and Fellowship in Gastroenterology from American College of Gastroenterology in 2012.