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The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Help desk for seniors at IGIMS

Come New Year, HelpAge India will accord a helping hand to senior citizens who get admitted to Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences.

The state branch of the non-government organisation (NGO) will inaugurate a help desk at the hospital on January 1, where a HelpAge official would assist senior citizens in completing the admission formalities.

The initiative has been taken after the NGO found that senior citizens, who come without relatives, face problems during admission to the hospital.

Dharmendra Kumar Singh, the state co-ordinator, HelpAge India, said: “Elderly people from rural areas face a lot of problems when they come for admission to the hospital on their own. Many times, they are accompanied by their spouses, who are also not aware of the necessary formalities and find it difficult to fill up the forms. After admission, elderly couples also find it difficult to go from the hospital’s first floor to the second floor. Senior citizens from below poverty line families sometimes are also unaware of discounts they can avail on their hospital fee under certain schemes. Our help desk will try to assist the senior citizens in every possible way.”

IGIMS director Dr Arun Kumar said the hospital administration readily agreed to the NGO’s proposal. He, however, added that the hospital has a separate registration counter for admitting senior citizens and takes care of any problems they might face.

“The state branch of HelpAge India sought our permission for starting the facility for helping the senior citizens and we did not take time to give our nod. The organisation wants to offer voluntary service to senior citizens coming to the hospital and it’s commendable. However it is not a first-of-its-kind initiative at our hospital. We also have facilities for senior citizens at IGIMS like a separate registration counter,” said Dr Kumar.

The hospital has also started a separate cheque deposit counter for senior citizens, the director said. He added: “We have told the department heads of our hospital that whenever some aged patient comes to them, they should give him/her priority. They should not be made to wait in queues. The help desk to be started by the NGO will augment our service to the senior citizens.”

The state co-ordinator of HelpAge India said the organisation is mulling similar help desks at the other prominent medical hubs of Patna. “It will take some time. First, we want to ensure good service at the IGIMS help desk. Then we will start help desks at the other prominent medical hubs of Patna,” said Singh.