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By Huda NV
DOHA: Qatar is set to have its first day-care facility for the elderly population, next year at Hamad Medical City. The facility will help many working families in taking care of their senior members, according to a expert.
“We are planning to have a day care facility for the senior members of the society, in January 2013. There are also plans to extend the current skilled nursing facility which will cater to more of our geriatric patients, which will also open early next year,” said Dr Hanadi Al Hamad, Geriatric Consultant, HMC.
“We need to think of making the environment as safe for our seniors as we do for our children. The idea of day-care facility came from the nurseries for small children. The facility located at Hamad Medical City will have some ten beds and will help families where all the members are working and so there is no one to take care of the elder member,” she told The Peninsula.
According to Dr Al Hamad, families can drop their elders at the facility in the morning and take them back in the evening. The positive side of the initiative is that the seniors get to enjoy their time with families, all the while being taken care of by healthcare workers in the morning.
The elderly patients at HMC include 64 Qataris and 38 non-Qataris admitted in Rumailah Hospital while, 64 Qataris and 38 expatriates are at the Hamad Medical City, according to Qatar Statistic Authority data.
“It is a need that the old people should be with their families as it can have positive effect on their health and well-being. A similar community oriented programme is being offered at the Skilled Nursing Facility in Hamad Medical City, where the patients are helped to integrate themselves into the community,” she said.
Many geriatric patients are undergoing extensive physiotherapy and rehabilitation programme in a social-environment, at the facility. The patients are taken on trips to the malls and souqs and also on pilgrimages as Umrah.
“Few weeks ago we got permission to have the second facility of the kind, and we will have one by early next year. The programme has proven to be highly success full in integrating the patients both geriatric and the long term patients into the society,” she said.
There are medical reasons for placing a special focus on the elderly, as their condition is often complicated by their being on many medications, having more than one sickness and being unable to express what is wrong with them clearly.
“Ageing affects all the physiology of a person and hence we at HMC aim to reduce poly-pharmacy (long cocktail of medicines). More than medicines, we focus on spending time talking and supporting them.”
“Most common problems among the geriatric patients here are dementia and chronic diseases. Added to this there are cases of delirium and depression; so we have a psycho-geriatrics clinic in association with psychiatry department to see the elderly patients, their needs and to follow their mental status. We also focus on fall prevention as it can lead to disability and other problems,” she said.
Along with ageing the bodily processes will decrease and hence they are vulnerable to diseases. If there is co morbidity, then the chances of developing some diseases are high.
“Any modification in lifestyle can help prevent co morbidity and that helps control various diseases from developing. Hence we stress on healthy ageing,” she said.