Caregiving for COVID-19 patients has been a sought-after service in Hanoi amid rising cases, providing job opportunities for many people in the capital city.
Several groups dedicated to the service have been created on social media, making it easier for residents to seek a suitable caregiver for their sick family members.
In one group, a member named T. posted a status saying that his grandmother has been infected with COVID-19 and is being treated at a hospital.
As the elderly woman suffers from a broken leg, someone needs to take care of her at the hospital, T. continued, adding that the payment is negotiable.
The hospital requires the caregiver to have recovered from COVID-19, a criteria that no one in T.’s family is able to meet.
Hoang Mai, a resident of Cau Giay District, said she used to work as a freelancer but has recently switched to providing care service for coronavirus patients amid the surge in infections across the city.
Most of Mai’s clients require her to take care of their family members at local COVID-19 treatment hospitals, but sometimes patients quarantined at home also seek her service.
Although Mai has already recovered from the disease and has been vaccinated, she still needs to test herself on a regular basis as well as wear protective clothing on the job.
The woman said she receives an average of VND2 million (US$88) a day for her service, adding that the cost will be higher during the Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday, which is a week away.
Lan, another caregiver in Hoan Kiem District, stated that most of the patients who need care are the elderly.
Her most recent client was a 96-year-old patient with underlying conditions, and her payment was VND1.5 million ($66) a day.
The caregiver said she could only take care of the elderly man for five days before he passed away, commenting that the job was much harder than she had thought.
“At the end of their lives, the elderly can feel very lonely, thus having someone to talk to and be there for them means a lot,” Lan elaborated.
“Being infected with COVID-19 prevents family members from staying by their side in the last moments.”
Gia Huy, 26, who previously worked as an app-based motorbike taxi driver, said he has provided care for four COVID-19 patients at their homes for VND1-1.5 million ($44-66) per day.
Huy said he had been jabbed twice, got infected with the coronavirus, and recovered from it.
“The job can be quite challenging if the patient is unable to walk, as you need to pay close attention to them and help them maintain good personal hygiene,” Huy continued.
A caregiver’s job is to help patients perform their daily activities, while doctors are in charge of providing treatment and other health-related guidance, he explained.
When the patient’s condition worsens, the caregiver would promptly contact doctors for emergency treatment, Huy added.
“Some people recovered after one or two weeks, but some did not make it,” he said.
Huy, whose hometown is in central Vietnam, has decided to remain in Hanoi this Tet holiday to continue working as a caregiver for COVID-19 patients.
Hanoi has recorded more than 111,600 local cases since the fourth virus wave hit the country on April 27.
The city has seen a surge in infections over the past few weeks with an average daily jump of more than 2,800 cases.