The Ambulatory Care Center is a groundbreaking new facility, offering patients high quality treatment without the need for admission.
The Ambulatory Care Center (ACC), part of Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), is a new facility that delivers outpatient and day surgery services, and is located within the impressive Hamad Bin Khalifa Medical City.
Ambulatory care refers to any type of medical care that is available on an outpatient basis – this can be diagnosis, observation, treatment, intervention, and rehabilitation – and therefore negates the need for a patient to be admitted.
Following this recent trend in healthcare, the ACC is a brand new approach to surgical care in Qatar, as it is the first to offer a ‘same day’ service. Patients are able to leave the hospital within 23 hours of having undergone surgery or medical procedure, and then recover at home without having to stay overnight. Some inpatient beds are available though, should patients need to stay longer. However, it satisfies the increasing demand for same-day surgery.
The 33,400 sq m facility has everything on site to ensure there is the minimum amount of stress for patients – this includes clinical imaging, laboratory services, state-of-the-art operating theatres and treatment rooms, and a pharmacy. There are 66 beds – 12 pre-operation beds and 54 post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) recovery beds – as well as 14 operating theatres.
Patients are further aided with their recovery at ACC’s outpatient clinics, as well as follow-up phone calls and advice.
All this is good news for those seeking medical care in Qatar: the introduction of the ACC means treatment times are faster, waiting lists are reduced, and patients will benefit from a more inclusive treatment and recovery experience.
How to access services at the ACC
The ACC started accepting referrals in May 2017, with the relocation of the podiatry clinic from Hamad General Hospital (HGH).
Further clinics have been transferring across in a staged manner from both HGH and Rumailah Hospital, including urology, gastroenterology, ENT and ophthalmology services. However, as ACC does not have an emergency department, patients needing immediate treatment will need to visit one of the emergency departments at HMC hospitals.
Patients will need a referral to access any of the ACC services, which can be from another HMC hospital or facility, an HMC physician, your local Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) centre, or a private clinic. As well as regular clinic times, some clinics operate in the evenings to accommodate work, family and school commitments.
To ensure that patients are fit for surgery and the anaesthetic, as well as being informed and prepared ahead of any surgical intervention or procedure, the Pre-admission Anesthesia Clinic (PAAC) will perform a thorough medical evaluation. This will take place during the outpatient appointment, and usually one month before the scheduled surgery or procedure.
After receiving the go-ahead, the surgery or procedure date is confirmed, and advice is given regarding any specific instructions, eg whether fasting is required or medication is to be taken in advance.
On the day of the surgery or procedure, patients should go to the Outpatient Surgery Registration desk on the second floor. They should only take their Qatar ID/passport and health card with them, as it is advised that payment and transportation details are arranged in advance. Any personal belongings brought to the hospital should be kept to a minimum.
After surgery, patients are taken to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) for an hour, then transferred to the Stage 2 recovery area. As soon as the doctor and anesthesiologist say you are well enough, you can go home!
Some of the surgical specialities and services available at ACC
- Gastroenterology – digestive (GI) and liver disease clinics, and digestive (GI) endoscopy procedures.
- Ophthalmology – sophisticated imaging technology and various diagnostic procedures to help detect and prevent vision loss from eye disorders such as glaucoma.
- Otorhinolaryngology (ENT) – otology (including neuro-otology), rhinology (including allergies, skull base and facial plastics), head and neck surgery (including snoring, voice and swallowing), audiology, and paediatric care.
- Podiatry – a specialist Diabetic Foot and Wound Care Clinic is on site. More than 100 patients are seen at the Podiatry Clinic at the ACC every day, 80% of whom are diabetics.
- Urology – urodynamics, a pelvic pain clinic, uro-oncology, voiding dysfunction, infertility and andrology, lithotripsy and general urology.
Other services include:
- General surgery
- Oral and cranio-maxillofacial
- Orthopaedic surgery
- Plastic surgery
Friends and family are encouraged to stay with the patient in dedicated pre- and post-op areas. For children having ENT or dental surgery, parents are now able to go with their child into the operating theatre and stay while the anaesthetic is administered, and then wait for them in the post-op recovery area.
First trialled in March 2018, it is a joint initiative of the ACC’s Perioperative Nursing, ENT, Pediatric Dentistry, and Anesthesia Departments. Prior to surgery, the parents and the child visit the Pre-Assessment Anesthesia Clinic (PAAC) to discuss the procedure with the senior consultant anaesthetist, and it is reiterated on the day of the surgery itself.
It’s a great initiative that helps reduce anxiety before and after surgery for everyone concerned, especially for younger children. And parents are reassured that they are leaving their little ones in safe hands!
Quick facts about the ACC
All new patients must take the following to their first appointment:
- Valid health card
- Qatar ID or passport copy
- Appointment card (if provided)
- Referral letter
- Any medical documents or paperwork relating to the referral
As per all other HMC facilities, payment for appointments and any further treatment or items from the pharmacy can only be made with a debit/credit card or eCash Card.
The location of the ACC can be found on our map of Hamad Bin Khalifa Medical City, found in this section. For more information about the ACC or any of the HMC hospitals and facilities, see Healthcare in Qatar, also in this section, visit hamad.qa or call the HMC helpline, Nesma’ak, on 16060
Author: Sarah Palmer
This article is from Marhaba Information Guide’s Issue No 77 Spring/Summer 2020.
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