To mark the recent observance of the International Day of Older Persons, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has launched a new website with practical healthy ageing and care service information for older people.
The site, which can be accessed through the HMC homepage – hamad.qa – is the first resource of its kind in the country and is intended to be a trusted source for up-to-date information and advice on health and ageing.
According to Dr Hanadi Al Hamad, National Lead for Healthy Ageing and Medical Director of Rumailah Hospital and Qatar Rehabilitation Institute (QRI), the need for medical services for elderly patients has grown alongside the need to promote preventative measures to support healthy ageing.
She said that the elderly citizens are considered a valuable and vibrant resource in the community and that is why the National Health Strategy (2018 – 2022) includes a focus on healthy ageing aimed at improving their healthcare – creating the right conditions for older people to increase their active years, stay well and live at home, as long as possible.
Dr Al Hamad said that the website is an important contribution to HMC’s comprehensive plan for enhancing care for the elderly. It includes healthcare education and information about geriatric service expansions designed to support the elderly citizens.
It is one element in our strategic and innovative approach to managing disease and promoting health and well-being among older adults.
The global number of persons 65 years and older in 2019 was 703 million according to the UN. This number is projected to more than double over the next three decades, reaching over 1.5 billion in 2050. The year 2020 marks the 30th anniversary of the International Day of Older Persons (UNIDOP), observed each year on 1 October.
People age differently depending on their genetic makeup and lifestyle. While we cannot change our genes, we can all make certain lifestyle changes that will influence the state of our health and well-being as we age.
She said that starting from the age of 40, people can adopt simple measures that will help physical and mental health, as these two are closely linked. Staying physically and mentally active and connected with family and friends, eating healthy, avoiding smoking, and conducting regular health screenings are all important investments in our future health, she added.
The HMC Geriatric and Long-Term Care Department, which provides a range of inpatient and outpatient services and specialties across multiple sites and hospitals, has added several new clinics this year. The new Falls Prevention Clinic at QRI and the Geriatric-Dermatology Virtual Clinic are part of the expansion of services to provide enhanced care to vulnerable population groups.
Dr Essa Mubarak Al Sulaiti, Deputy National Lead for Healthy Ageing and Medical Director, Home Health Care Services, explained the importance of providing a holistic approach to geriatric care.
As our population continues to age, we remain committed to providing services and resources that improve the well-being and quality of life of our elderly. As geriatricians, we need to take every aspect of the patient’s life into account, including culture and tradition, which affects lifestyle habits.
That is why we established multi-disciplinary teams that have specialised training in geriatric medicine, and these teams are responsible for developing individualised care plans tailored to the patient’s needs.
The emergence of COVID-19 and the heightened risks posed to older people has precipitated a change in how we deliver services, with many more services and medical consultations now offered online or via telephone. Dr Al Sultaiti said they also continue the Elderly Telephone Reassurance Service, where experienced team makes regular telephone calls to citizens and long-term residents to check on their general health and well-being.
Many of our older patients often have more chronic health conditions and we acknowledge that the social distancing rules are important but can also lead to isolation; these calls have been welcomed by the recipients and their families.
In recent years, HMC has made major strides towards redefining continuing care in Qatar. In addition to the two existing Enaya Specialized Care Centers, they also operate two community-based facilities in Muaither and a multi-disciplinary Home Healthcare Service which currently cares for over 2,500 patients across Qatar.
Specialist services, such as the RAHA Alzheimer’s and Memory Loss Helpline are equally important services designed to offer confidential support and advice to people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
Follow this LINK to visit the new elderly care website.