Doha, 3 October, 2020: In recognition of the International Day of Older Persons, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has launched a new website with practical healthy ageing and care service information for older people. The microsite, which can be accessed through the homepage of HMC’s website (hamad.qa), is the first resource of its kind in the country and is intended to be a trusted source for up-to-date information and advice on health and ageing.
According to Dr. Hanadi Al Hamad, National Lead for Healthy Ageing and Medical Director of Rumailah Hospital and Qatar Rehabilitation Institute (QRI), the need for medical services for elderly patients has grown alongside the need to promote preventative measures to support healthy ageing.
“Our elderly citizens are a growing, valuable, and vibrant resource in our community; the National Health Strategy (2018 – 2022) therefore includes a focus on healthy ageing that aims to improve health by creating the right conditions for older people to increase their active life years, stay well, and live at home wherever possible,” said Dr. Al Hamad.
“This website is an important contribution to HMC’s comprehensive plan for enhancing care for the elderly. It includes healthcare education and information about geriatric service expansions that have been designed to support our elderly citizens. It is one element in our strategic and innovative approach to managing disease and promoting health and wellbeing among older adults,” added Dr. Al Hamad.
According to the UN, the global number of persons aged 65 or over in 2019 was 703 million. This number is projected to more than double over the next three decades, reaching more than 1.5 billion persons in 2050. The year 2020 marks the 30th Anniversary of the International Day of Older Persons (UNIDOP), which is observed each year on 1 October.
“People age differently depending on their genetic makeup and lifestyle. While we cannot change our genes, we can all make certain lifestyle changes that will influence the state of our health and wellbeing as we age. Starting from when we are in our 40s, we can adopt simple measures that will help our physical and mental health, as both are closely linked. Staying physically and mentally active and connected with family and friends, eating healthy, avoiding smoking, and conducting regular health screenings are all important investments in our future health,” added Dr. Al Hamad.
HMC’s Geriatric and Long-Term Care Department, which provides a range of inpatient and outpatient services and specialties across multiple sites and hospitals, has added several new clinics this year. The new Falls Prevention Clinic at QRI and the Geriatric-Dermatology Virtual Clinic are part of the expansion of services to provide enhanced care to vulnerable population groups.
Dr. Essa Mubarak Al Sulaiti, Deputy National Lead for Healthy Ageing and Medical Director, Home Health Care Services, explained the importance of providing a holistic approach to geriatric care.
“As our population continues to age, we remain committed to providing services and resources that improve the wellbeing and quality of life of our elderly. As geriatricians, we need to take every aspect of the patient’s life into account, including culture and tradition, which affects lifestyle habits. That is why we established multidisciplinary teams that have specialized training in geriatric medicine, and these teams are responsible for developing individualized care plans tailored to the patient’s needs,” said Dr. Al Sultaiti.
“The emergence of COVID-19 and the heightened risks posed to older people has precipitated a change in how we deliver services, with many more services and medical consultations now offered online or via telephone. We also continue our Elderly Telephone Reassurance Service, where our experienced team makes regular telephone calls to our citizens and long-term residents to check on their general health and wellbeing. Many of our older patients often have more chronic health conditions and we acknowledge that the social distancing rules are important but can also lead to isolation; these calls have been welcomed by the recipients and their families,” added Dr. Al Sultaiti.
In recent years, HMC has made major strides towards redefining continuing care in Qatar. In addition to the two existing Enaya Specialized Care Centers, the Corporation operates two community-based facilities in Muaither and a multi-disciplinary Home Healthcare Service which currently cares for over 2,500 patients across Qatar. Specialist services, such as the RAHA Alzheimer’s and Memory Loss Helpline are equally important services designed to offer confidential support and advice to people living with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia.