Integrated Care Services for Elderly Patients Across HMC Facilities
Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) offers a wide range of geriatric healthcare services to promote the health and well-being of Qatar’s elderly population across their network of facilities.
Dr Amir Ibrahim Abdalla, Consultant Geriatrician and Emergency Geriatrics Clinical Lead at HMC, says Qatar’s ageing population meant that there is a new emphasis on geriatric medicine, with elder care specialists now working as part of multi-disciplinary teams operating across HMC’s network of facilities.
The geriatrics team works across a number of HMC facilities and services. Members of our team work in emergency, inpatient, and outpatient facilities and we collaborate with colleagues across the system. As an example, we work closely with our orthopaedic colleagues to address the unique care needs of elderly patients who are recovering from fractures.’
He added that Rumailah Hospital also offers a wide range of geriatric services through its specialised long-term care units and its specialised falls prevention, memory, general geriatrics, and rapid assessment clinics.
Dr Abdulla explained that while geriatric care is provided across HMC, services are integrated and there is a focus on treating the ‘whole patient’ – taking every aspect of their life into account, including culture and tradition. He says that many geriatric patients are managing multiple medical problems.
With approximately 12% of the country’s population projected to be over the age of 65 by 2022, demand for specialised geriatric services is expected to continue rising. Individuals over the age of 65 have a range of unique healthcare requirements that include a number of conditions typical of, if not specific to, aging, such as dementia, depression, delirium, incontinence, vertigo, falls, bone fractures, and nutritional deficiencies. Elderly patients may also require longer hospital stays.’
According to Dr Abdulla, HMC is continuing to add new and innovative services to address the specific care needs of elderly patients. He notes that current services, such as memory clinic and falls prevention clinic, have filled an important void. Geriatric physicians also work across the system within multi-disciplinary teams, providing physical and occupational therapy, speech therapy, nutrition and dietetics services, and other allied healthcare services.
We recently introduced a new service at Al Wakra Hospital that provides specialised counseling for our elderly patients via a weekly outpatient clinic. This service is also provided at Enaya Specialized Care Centers 1 and 2 in Hamad Bin Khalifa Medical City and involves providing patients with a comprehensive health assessment as well as any necessary follow-up care, including rehabilitation.’
While most patients with complex medical conditions are admitted to Rumailah Hospital’s long-term care wards, adult ventilator units, or the Enaya Specialized Care Centers, a large number of elderly patients are cared for by the HMC Home Health Care Service.
Our top priority in the management of elderly patients is placing the patient and his or her family at the centre of the decision-making process. We are committed to providing patients with the information they need to be active participants in their care and treatment plans. All efforts are made to ensure the patient maintains maximum independence and can remain in the community.’
The groundbreaking Enaya Specialized Care Centers were opened in 2015 as part of HMC’s efforts to meet the needs of the country’s growing elderly population. The facilities are connected via a link bridge, allowing for efficiencies in staffing, equipment and space. They provide round-the-clock monitoring and treatment for patients with complex care needs.