Rajagopal G, KITES Senior Care, Health News, ET HealthWorld

Shahid Akhter, Editor-in-Chief, ETHealthworld, spoke with Rajagopal G, Co-Founder and CEO, KITES Senior Care, to learn more about geriatric issues, challenges and developments in the elderly care market.

Geriatric care: issues, opportunities and challenges
The recent Longitudinal Study on Aging in India indicates that about 20% of our seniors suffer from some form of mental illness and about 30% of them suffer from multiple morbidities. The current Covid situation has also exposed the vulnerability of this part of the population. For any country, this size of the elderly population is a challenge. This is a challenge of enormous proportions, not only in terms of health, but also socio-economically. And you also have to keep in mind that there is a large part of the elderly from an economically weaker section that the government has to take care of. There is an opportunity before us; the opportunity is for the government to act primarily, to put in place a long-term vision and a strategic approach to deal with this issue at hand. And a private actor like us, we have before us an opportunity for a huge market and also an obligation for us to collaborate with the government in terms of providing quality service to the elderly.

Geriatric Care: Need for PPP
Historically, we as a country have not done well with respective comprehensive health care, let alone our care for the elderly.

Our annual contribution as a percentage of GDP is suboptimal compared to many other developing countries in the world. We were also poorly rated by many agencies for quality of care, accessibility of care, and prioritization of health care overall. The government must act urgently and the comprehensive approach is very relevant at the moment with a long-term vision.

In addition to meeting the health needs of the elderly, I think the government needs to come up with some aspects of social security, financial security also need to look at infrastructure improvements across India. In fact, it will be worth it for the government to consider a single specialized ministry to work on elderly care with the type of population that we envision before us. We can also learn a lot from developed countries, especially from a health care delivery perspective, to ensure that we have an elderly and healthy population in front of us.

It is time for the care of the elderly to be put at the forefront by the government. I can see some first steps happening. The Ministry of Social Justice and Family Protection has been working for two years to encourage many innovative models in this sector. NITI Aayog, under the leadership of Dr Paul, recently assembled a focused group of various stakeholders, including industry bodies. And they actually presented a document that was actively considered by them.

In fact, recently we have also seen the Quality of Life Index released by the Economic Council, which is a very welcome step in that particular direction. I think the government as a whole has realized this, but there is still a lot to be done in this area.

As a private actor, we also have an obligation to support government, whether central government or state, by providing assistance to ensure transparent delivery of accessible services to older people.

Geriatric care: the role of technology
Geriatric care is in its infancy in India and the potential for growth is enormous. We see the government getting more involved in the policy frameworks for this group of people. There will be a lot of action from central government and state governments in the years to come, as you can see. You will also see the emergence of very innovative models that are aimed at both healthy elderly people and the care of sick elderly people.

Home care has been around for some time. It has been a huge pull in this industry, but we will see the industry consolidate over the next 5 years. Technology is very important and it will play a key role in the days to come, especially with deep internet penetration and the ease of use of cellphones by senior citizens in India will change this landscape. For example – remote monitoring health systems. Some of these things will gain popularity in the coming days.

Collective housing is another concept that is catching up. There is a huge demand in the market. I think there are more players to come and recognizing that this is a very important part of senior care and group housing will gain in popularity.

Finally, I think that insurance will also evolve. I’ve seen that evolve in other industries over the last decade, especially with reproductive drugs, etc. Insurance will evolve as more and more players come in and make a lot of contributions to them and also work with government agencies.

Finally, I believe that non-care models such as the ones we are pursuing will gain tremendous importance and impedance over the next 5-10 years. As we see more and more young people understanding the need for quality care for their parents is on the rise.

Last, but not least, but the most important thing I would like to stress is about the PPP model. We have a huge part of the economically weaker elderly in India who need help, it cannot be done by government alone, a lot of private actors have to partner with government agencies and I see the PPP models the next 5 years also take off very well in the segment of geriatric care in our country.

KITES Senior Care: Care concept
Kite Senior Care was founded in 2015 by Dr AS Arvind and myself.

Dr AS Arvind is a renowned gastroenterologist who has spent a lot of time in the UK as a doctor and mentor for many healthcare brands. He currently advises many companies as a board of directors.

My passion for the care of the elderly and the rich experience of Dr Arvind came together in the formulation of KITES Senior Care. We understand that geriatric care extends beyond the hospital and this is something that was lacking in India. Thus, at KITES Senior Care, we provide transitional care that covers your post-hospital and post-surgical care; palliative and hospice care that even covers the end of life where the emphasis is on pain management and comfort care and finally, we also provide dementia care whether it is memory clinics or your daycare services or accommodation solutions for people with dementia. We provide this kind of geriatric care both in the retirement home and in our own specialized facilities.

We have a proprietary six-star rating system that allows our team to fully understand the individual and be prepared with care plans carefully vetted by medical management. From a quality point of view, we are a very quality conscious organization; we would like to be a process oriented organization. We have generally adopted the process related to NEBH and we will also adopt NEBH soon.

Most importantly, we also believe in experimenting with integrative medicine, so we started the integrative medicine pilot project in one of our centers via Ayurveda and we are in the early days, but we are seeing good results. the low. Most importantly, we would also like to invest in the right human resources. So, so far, we have served over 4000 alumni in Bangalore. We have a 3-step facility with around 90 beds and at all times we are supporting around 100 plus families in their homes to care for their elderly.

KITES Senior Care: Growth plans
Since its inception, we have helped over 4,000 families in Bangalore. Currently, we have three establishments providing geriatric care with more than 90 beds. At any given time, we are serving approximately 100 families and more are at home. The initial trial period was a success for us and we are looking at growth and expansion.

Our growth is going to be in phases because our next phase, we want to expand in Bangalore and set foot in 2 or 3 other cities, after which we can also expand aggressively in these cities.

The geriatric care market is very large and large and is still in its infancy. It is an abundant opportunity for many players to come and take a stand here and we want to be an ethical geriatric player in this market in the days to come.

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