May 19, 2020

Health Ministry to increase the capacity of healthcare residences and boost mental healthcare

Health Ministry to increase the capacity of healthcare residences and boost mental healthcare
This will mean greater access to health professionals and the development of teleassistance technology for people affected by the health crisis and isolation measures.

Health Minister Jaime Mañalich referred this morning to the announcements made yesterday by President Sebastián Piñera regarding his ministry. The Minister explained the measures that will be implemented in the mental health network, healthcare residences and the reporting of more detailed information on COVID-19 cases.

The Minister said that this health crisis and the measures that have been implemented to address it are having “a profound impact on the spirit and soul of all the Chilean people. And, as the President said, we need to support them. This is why he announced that the State will assist by reaching out to help people recover from the emotional and psychological crisis this pandemic is causing.”

This help will be developed based on the recommendations made to the Government by the Social roundtable. Minister Mañalich explained that it will consist fundamentally of greater access to mental health professionals, such as psychiatrists and psychologists, in the Integrated Healthcare Network. It will also include the development of a teleassistance technology to allow people, who begin to feel symptoms of anguish, fear, sleeping difficulties, and other problems, to receive the help they need.

The second announcement refers to the increase in the capacity of the healthcare residences that have been equipped for people who have COVID-19 and whose living conditions make it difficult to comply effectively with quarantine while also safeguarding their family environment.

“We have 52 healthcare residences and 2,339 rooms throughout Chile, but we obviously will need to increase this capacity, especially within the Metropolitan Region. Ideally, some people will move from wherever they are living for a period of time and go to a healthcare residence where they can be warm and comfortable and get meals, healthcare and psychological care, so that they can collaborate in recovering from this tremendous crisis,” explained Minister Mañalich. He also asked the municipalities and mayors for their collaboration, “because nobody knows their territories better than them.”

The third announcement made by the President with regard to health was the commitment to provide more disaggregated information to aid better decision-making in managing this pandemic and quarantine.

The Minister explained that the “Epivigila” Report published twice a week on the Health Ministry’s website will now report the new coronavirus cases by district and square kilometer, so as to show where the greatest concentrations of cases are located.  It will also provide information on the incidence of active cases and how they are moving in relation to the total population and the number of deaths per district.