NATIONAL NEWS - In South Africa we are faced with many different choices when it comes to medical advice and assistance. Are day hospitals an option for you and your family?
From what medical aid to choose, to what doctor or specialist to go to as well as what kind of hospital is available, the options are endless, and the choice can be daunting. Bibi Goss-Ross, Chief Operating Officer of Advanced Health Day Hospitals, breaks down all the information you need to know about day hospitals.
What is a day hospital?
Day hospitals focus only on doing same-day surgical procedures. They are specially designed to function like larger hospitals with state-of-the-art theatre equipment and highly trained staff appropriate for the suite of surgical procedures that are regularly undertaken at these facilities.
They offer distinct comfort and cost advantages and are developed in partnership with participating medical practitioners to ensure that world-class medical quality and technology objectives are met.
What are the benefits?
There are numerous benefits to using a day hospital. There are no overnight stays and the risk of infection is significantly reduced in day hospitals due to shorter stays. Day hospitals are geared up to minimise waiting times - patients arrive an hour or two before surgery, are operated on and return home as soon as their pain levels are under control and once the doctor has checked and discharged them.
The wards are small and comfortable allowing you space to wait and recover and the staff is attentive, efficient and will give personalised care.
Your family will also have a comfortable place to wait or the hospital will inform them when you are ready to be discharged.
What kind of procedures are performed?
With a focus on same day, short stay surgery, many different procedures are performed at day hospitals. Some of these include grommets, tonsillectomy, cataracts, circumcision and other urology procedures, wisdom teeth removal, breast augmentation, breast reduction, facelift, other cosmetic procedures, endoscopy procedures, laparoscopic procedures and other general surgery. Due to the improvement of the technology, the list is increasing every year.
It is important to note that 75% of surgical procedures can be performed safely as same-day procedures.
Do medical aids cover day hospital surgeries?
Yes, most major medical aid schemes are increasingly supporting the use of day hospitals as they are far more cost effective than acute facilities. Day hospitals offer extremely competitive rates for patients and medical schemes and most day hospitals waive co-payments (a significant benefit for patients who struggle financially with having to pay additional amounts on top of high medical aid premiums). Something to remember is that the process for surgery is the same, you still need to get authorisation from your medical aid for the procedure.
Can anyone go to a day hospital?
It is important to remember that a day hospital is different from an acute facility as it does not have an emergency room or casualty section. All procedures are pre-booked, so you cannot just walk in and be treated, and only low-risk patients are accepted.
What’s more, they are a far better alternative for small children or young patients. Your specialist needs to make the decision to admit you to a day hospital, which is why the 12 Advanced Health day hospitals across the country have a list of supporting specialists on hand to assist.
Day hospitals are becoming an increasingly popular option for many South Africans and it’s worth keeping them in mind when any surgical intervention is recommended by a medical professional.
Always explore your options and ask your doctor if a day hospital is the better option for you and your family.
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