The prospect of living with a debilitating injury or illness can be quite daunting for many; particularly for young people who find their capacity, not only to engage in their accustomed activities, but also to achieve their life goals, has become restricted by the limitations of their disability. Young adults with spinal cord injury, acquired brain injury, stroke, and other neurological disabilities (such as cerebral palsy and neuromuscular dystrophy), present a real challenge for rehabilitation in Qatar.
This group is the main cohort looked after by the award winning Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) project team at Rumailah Hospital, who carry out a unique, holistic approach to addressing the needs of people with disabilities at community level, as well as being advocates for this patient group.
CBR provides the link between HMC’s rehabilitation services and the opportunities in the community. On an ordinary day, the multi-disciplinary CBR team – which consists of an occupational therapist/team leader, another occupational therapist, physiotherapist, nurse and social worker – conduct home environment assessments, give recommendations on how to make areas such as bathrooms, kitchens and entrances simpler and more suitable for someone with disability, and train clients in instrumental activities of daily living. The team also conducts job evaluations, and by learning about the client’s skills, education and interests, assists them to find employment, as well as working with prospective employers to ensure an accessibility workplace.
With young clients who are still at school age, the team works with schools to make sure they are suitable in terms of accessibility and we also assess the readiness of the students and teachers to accept the child on their return. They also look for ways for clients to spend leisure time, such as through sports or arts and crafts.
But the CBR team’s role extends beyond the clinical aspects of rehabilitation; they are keen to promote empathy for people with disabilities. They need to work with clients, their families and the community, as well as the government, in order to find ways to support their re-integration in society.
CBR's vision is for people with disabilities to be as independent as possible in all aspects of life and be able to participate fully in society. Patients can spend several months in acute treatment and rehabilitation, so they need a lot of support so they can return to the community and continue their education, find employment, or find their place in sports. CBR helpds them maximize their capacity, to use what they have and become more independent.