Physiotherapy Department at Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Qatar Rehabilitation Institute (QRI) has provided rehabilitation services to more than 28,000 patients since January this year. This represents about half of the total outpatient services provided at the region’s largest tertiary rehabilitation hospital.

By the end of December, this number is expected to reach 30,000, an increase of 15% from last year’s recorded patient visits.

According to QRI Physiotherapy Supervisor Al Madzhar Ahmadul, this signifies an increased demand for services focused on developing, maintaining, and restoring movement and functional ability threatened by age, injury, disease, or environmental factors.

Ahmadul says while the majority of patients cared for at the Physiotherapy Department include those with neuromuscular challenges resulting from stroke and other neurological diseases, about 30% are older adults aged 70 years and above with musculoskeletal impairments, including arthritis and joint pain.

We also treat patients with progressive disorders of the nervous system, such as multiple sclerosis and we see children with cerebral palsy, 14 years of age and above.’

Chief of Physiotherapy Noora Al Mudahka adds that the adherence of QRI’s physiotherapists to a structured stroke Clinical Practice Guideline (CPG) has helped in enhancing the effectiveness of post-acute stroke physical therapy. She notes that QRI’s results are comparable with international benchmarks, adding that the department has successfully rehabilitated thousands of stroke patients since introducing the CPG.

The QRI’s advanced facilities include a specialist Sensory Room.

Under the guidance and supervision of Al Mudahka in 2014, the QRI commissioned a team of specialists to generate a physiotherapy-specific guideline for post-acute stroke care for all physiotherapy staff across HMC who specialise in neurological physiotherapy.

Ahmadul adds:

After a year of intensive work, the team successfully produced the PAAS Guideline (Physical Therapy After Acute Stroke). Staff were trained in the use of the guideline through a one-day workshop.’

Follow-up workshops were also organized to train staff to perform all the physiotherapy outcome measures included within the guideline and monitoring tools were developed to measure compliance with the standard.

Just like other members of the multi-disciplinary team, physical therapists play a major role in stroke rehabilitation. Commonly, stroke survivors requiring rehabilitation exhibit movement and mobility deficits such as turning, sitting, standing, and walking. This is where our expertise as physical therapists and movement scientists is valuable as we make use of specialized assessment tools, analyse relevant findings, and formulate individualised plans of care.’

Ahmadul notes that QRI’s advanced facilities, which include seven hydrotherapy pools, eleven advanced gyms, a specialist sensory room, and an Assisted Living Unit in which patients can relearn simple daily tasks and readjust to life at home, make it one of the most impressive facilities of its kind in the region.