The National Center for Cancer Care and Research (NCCCR), part of Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) network of specialist hospitals, recently announced the successful re-accreditation of its Supportive and Palliative Care Program by the Joint Commission International (JCI).

Palliative care is a provision provided for people who have a life-limiting illness and for whom the primary goal is quality of life. Palliative care takes a holistic approach to address the full spectrum of a patient’s needs, from the physical and emotional to the spiritual and social.

Professor Alexander Knuth, CEO and Medical Director at NCCCR, commented on the re-accreditation:

We are proud of this achievement and honoured to be re-accredited by an internationally recognised organisation such as JCI. This highlights HMC’s approach to developing excellence in healthcare in Qatar and it recognises the outstanding quality of care we provide to our patients. Our vision is to deliver an internationally recognised Supportive and Palliative Care Program and to become a regional leader in palliative care clinical services.’

Professor Knuth continued:

This is the only palliative care programme accredited as a clinical care programme by JCI in the Middle East and Gulf region. This achievement reflects HMC’s commitment to providing the best quality services to our patients by offering world-class cancer therapies and support. Our Supportive and Palliative Care Program meets the highest quality standards and our teams are committed to the provision of exemplary care.’

Palliative care HMC NCCR Cancer Research

Dr Azza Ibrahim Hassan, Senior Consultant, Oncology at NCCCR and Director of the Supportive and Palliative Care Program, said that coping with advanced illness is stressful for patients and their families. She said the goal of HMC’s Supportive and Palliative Care Program is to maintain an optimal quality of life for patients and caregivers.

Dr Hassan said:

The patient is at the heart of everything we do here at HMC and our Supportive and Palliative Care Program is focused on the patient. It is tailored to meet patient needs, using proven tools and techniques to better integrate, coordinate, and communicate patient care. The programme prioritises patients with late-stage disease, identifying those who may need immediate assistance and accepting referrals for symptom control and psychological support for both patients and their families. The programme also provides advice on the direction of care and assistance in communicating difficult medical information.’

The Palliative and Supportive Care Program was initially accredited in 2012, followed by a second re-accreditation in 2015. The JCI accreditation recognises hospital programmes that demonstrate exceptional care to optimise the quality of life for patients with serious illnesses.

In 2016 the supportive and palliative care team developed a Fellowship Program focused on palliative care for patients and families at diagnosis, during active treatment, and at end-of-life. The first fellow joined the program in 2017.