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A Cardinal’s Guide to Home and Online Healthcare

Article by: Kandhalvi M. Asaali and Therese Anne B. Cruz


Graphics by: Clark Vincent P. Constantino


With the steep increase of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, coupled with the onslaught of the Delta and Lambda variants, medical centers such as hospitals and clinics are now at higher risk of viral transmission. People are becoming more apprehensive of leaving their homes for checkups and medical consultations. Fortunately for some, home care is on the table and online consultations can be just one email away.


On Online Medical Consultations


Last December 4, 2020, the University announced that students and employees of Mapúa University may avail free online medical consultations with the Mapúa Health Services Department (HSD) on Mondays to Fridays from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.


Mapúa HSD Head Dr. Julius S. Bonifacio mentioned that Cardinals simply need to send an email to any of the HSD staff to set an appointment for the online medical consultation. They may directly contact Dr. Bonifacio (jsbonifacio@mapua.edu.ph), Nurse Ema Fatima Abayon (efsabayon@mapua.edu.ph), Nurse Kevin Diaz (KDDiaz@mapua.edu.ph), Nurse Daryl Dauz (DAHDauz@mapua.edu.ph), and Nurse Jhoan Narciso (jtnarciso@mapua.edu.ph).


Usually we do [the medical consultation] via MS Teams, [...] You email us, inform us your most convenient time. Pero [...] ideally, should be during office hours only.” Dr. Bonifacio shared.

During the medical consultation, Mapúans have to specify their health concerns and must have their medical records on hand should they need to present it. They may also request medical certificates for academic or medical purposes as well as online prescriptions if needed.


Meanwhile, the HSD Head clarified that dental services are currently not available as it would be difficult to check the oral cavity of the patient through an online consultation. He added that at least once a month, the department also provides online awareness programs regarding current or on-demand health topics which they usually announce through email blasts.


While these services are only limited to enrolled students and current employees of the University, Mapúan relatives can still avail online health consultations through other national programs and services.


Last April, the Office of the Vice President of the Philippines launched Bayanihan E-Konsulta, a program that offers free medical consultation for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients. Those who would like to consult can visit the initiative’s Facebook page and send a message for an e-consultation with medical volunteers from Mondays to Fridays, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.


During the e-consultation, patients would need to specify their health concerns, which would then be assessed either for an online consultation or emergency care. Moreover, the teleconsultation service is connected to a referral network set up by the Department of Health (DOH) – One Hospital Command Center. In case patients need urgent care, they may be sent to nearby hospitals to receive immediate medical attention.


Some telemedicine providers available in the country are TelAventusMD of Aventus Medical Care, Inc., MedCheck E-consult, TrinityCare, Cloud PX, HealthNowPH, and SeeYouDoc, among others.


On Home Care


Dr. Anna Lisa T. Ong-Lim, a pediatric infectious disease expert from the Philippine General Hospital and a member of the DOH technical advisory group, encouraged patients to consider home care for asymptomatic and mild cases of COVID-19. In a webinar entitled “What to Do when COVID Hits Home: Solutions for the Current Surge” last April 10, Dr. Ong-Lim stated that only those who can take care of themselves while being isolated and do not reside with senior citizens, people with comorbidities, and pregnant women should be selected for home care.


However, for people with comorbidities, patients older than 60 years old, and smokers, hospital care is recommended due to increased health risk factors.


As a precaution, home care kits must be prepared in case a household member turns out to be COVID-19 positive. The COVID-19 home care kits include personal protective equipment (e.g., face masks, face shield, gloves, etc.), cleaning and disinfection supplies (e.g., alcohol, soap, and bleach solution), monitoring supplies (vital signs recorder, thermometer, blood pressure cuff, and pulse oximeter), and general medications for fever, cough, and colds as well as the patient’s maintenance medication.


In the provision of home care, an appropriate setup is needed to ensure the safety of the patient and their household members. This set up includes a separate room and bathroom with proper ventilation for each patient, an efficient delivery system for food and necessities, and a reliable caregiver to ensure monitoring of the patient and relay accurate information to public health authorities. Patients must observe limited contact with other household members and caregivers must wear personal protective equipment at all times.


As the virus becomes more infectious and rampant, Dr. Bonifacio advises students to get their COVID-19 vaccination and to continue following implemented health protocols. These include wearing face masks, face shields, and staying indoors as much as possible.


“…Kung matitiis niyo pa, don’t go outside if you don’t have anything important to do. Keep yourself healthy by proper exercise and diet, and lots and lots and lots of Vitamin C and all the vitamins,” the HSD Head imparted.

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