A holistic occupational therapy programme comprising arts and crafts, communication, socialisation and confidence building skills as part of the treatment pathway for patients being treated for mental illness at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is proving to be a great success.

Chief of Occupational Therapy, Sultan Salim Al Abdulla said that they focus on improving the quality of patients’ life through occupational therapy.

Due to longterm psychiatry illness, many patients lose their basic working and daily life skills and are unable to take care of themselves. Many are also unable to socialise because of the stigma associated with mental illness in the community.’

As occupational therapists, Al Abdulla said that their main aim is to help patients reacquire the skills necessary for them to improve the quality of their life. This is in line with HMC‘s ongoing efforts to ensure patient safety. This has, in fact, earned them an award of merit last year at the HMC Stars of Excellence Awards.

Art therapy is used to help patients improve their concentration or boost their interest levels while engaging in a task. To increase their attention span, patients are encouraged to actively participate in arts and crafts. By creating some pieces of art by themselves, patients develop a sense of confidence that they can do something on their own.

Occupational Therapy Specialist Ashok Bhagat, who has been assisting mental health patients to cope with their illness for over a decade said that majority of their patients experience depression or anxiety disorder, often triggered by a change of environment or stress. He added:

We offer day care services separately for males and females, including adult outreach and home care programmes covered by eight occupational therapists. Once a patient is admitted, we concentrate on providing customised treatments according to each patient’s needs and based on the results of their evaluation.’

Bhagat stressed that to create a sense of self-motivation in discharged patients, occupational therapists encourage them to continue their therapeutic learning in a specially designed day care programme.

Individuals who require mental health care at HMC can access the service by getting a referral from their primary healthcare clinic or a physician in the private sector.

For more information about HMC’s Occupational Therapy Programme, visit hamad.qa.