By MOHAMMED IQBAL
DOHA: Home nursing, a relatively new concept in the healthcare sector in Qatar, is fast gaining popularity with a growing demand for the service among Qatari and expatriate families.
A number of private companies, nurseries and schools are also hiring nurses from private home care centres for the short-term.
Nearly a dozen private home care centres have sprung up in Doha over the past two years and more are expected to open in the coming years.
In 2011, the Supreme Council of Health (SCH) issued licences to four home care centres, taking the total number to seven. Last year saw the opening of several more facilities.
The Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has been providing home nursing services to some patients who require follow-up care. However, private centres offering “on call” nursing service to families and establishments are a new entry in the health sector in Qatar. The fees for such services are charged on hourly, daily or monthly basis, and they range from QR6,000 to QR10,000 per month and from QR100 to QR150 per hour.
A senior official of the Home Care Center, one of such facilities opened last month, said that within a short time, they have seen a growing demand for their services.
Located near the City Center, the facility currently has five full-time nurses, two of them men. All the nurses are from The Philippines. “There is a huge potential in the market and we are planning to increase the number of nurses to 20 very soon to meet the growing demand. Our customers include families, companies, schools and nurseries,” Dima Al Mched, general manager of the center, told The Peninsula yesterday. She said there was a high demand for nurses from construction companies, that are required to provide nursing service to their workers at construction sites and the company premises.
Instead of appointing full-time nurses, many small companies opt to hire nurses from home care centers on daily or monthly basis.
“ Some schools and nurseries also hire our nurses, because they may not have their own nurses or they may be on vacation,” said Al Mched. Majority of the family clients are westerners because they are more familiar with the concept of home care, she added.
“Home care is very new idea in Qatar. We are expecting more Arab and Qatari customers in the future when they get familiarised with this service,” said Mched.
Families request a home nurse for various services, such as child care, elderly care, post-surgery care and maternity care.“Many working couples seek the service of a home nurse, when they have their first child or when their children fall sick. Families would also require a nurse to clean a wound or change the bandage, to avoid visiting a hospital or clinic for such minor services,” said Mchel, a Lebanese national.