Rumailah Hospital initiate performance efficiencies to enable faster access to care in the Falls Prevention Clinics, Memory Clinic and Geriatric Orthopedic Clinic for patients aged 60 and over
Doha, 5 December 2021: Rumailah Hospital (RH) is a multi-specialty facility that provides specialized care and services, including medical, surgical, physiotherapy, Geriatric, and long-term care. The hospital provides specialized medical care for older adults and has initiated a comprehensive improvement management program that enables faster access to Geriatric Outpatient clinics (OPD) for this cohort of patients.
Dr. Hanadi Al Hamad, Medical Director at Rumailah Hospital and Qatar Rehabilitation Institute, and Chairperson for the Department of Geriatrics and Long-Term Care explained the impetus for the improvements was the desire to deliver enhanced age-appropriate care to older adults. “Older patients often have multiple health issues, including chronic conditions that make them less resilient when dealing with illnesses. Potential delays in receiving a diagnosis and treatment can exacerbate the problem and may lead to more serious complications. It is therefore imperative that our older patients receive professional healthcare in a timely manner.”
Various teams responsible for delivering geriatric OPD services in Rumailah Hospital analyzed the care delivery to identify opportunities for improvements. The work has led to a sustained reduction in the average appointment wait times in the Geriatric Outpatient clinics (OPD). Hospital data from 2019 to 2020 showed a significant reduction of 34% in average appointment wait times for older patients seen in a geriatric outpatient clinic in Rumailah Hospital; this was in spite of a substantial increase in the number of patient referrals during this time.
Dr. Mahmoud Refaee, Consultant in Geriatric Medicine at Rumailah Hospital, who was tasked with supporting the access improvement initiative said that the team used a multipronged approach to enable faster patient access: “The improvement tracks included expansion of clinics (not only within the hospital but also across HMC or primary care centers); establishment of temporary subspecialty clinics to manage higher caseloads; implementation of a robust electronic-triage system that reduced the risk of double referral; enabling bed-bound patients to receive care through home care services (to avoid their arduous journey to a hospital clinic; and the establishment of the Elderly Urgent Care Unit, which is immensely important for patients needing immediate clinical care without having to resort to visiting the Emergency Department.”
General geriatric clinics, which provide comprehensive geriatric assessment and medical care to patients with complex medical conditions who are older than 60 years, were able to shorten appointment wait times as part of the patient centered care improvement efforts.
Geriatric Falls Prevention clinics achieved a nearly 35% reduction in average wait times. The clinic accepts patients aged 60 years and older who have experienced a mobility impairment related fall incident. The Falls Prevention Clinic aims to enhance patient mobility while preventing falls and fractures through evidence-based clinical practice and research. This achievement was made possible by simultaneously expanding falls prevention services and clinics.
Elderly patients referred from other HMC departments and Primary Health Care Centers to the Memory Clinic have benefited from a significant reduction of 57% in average waiting time over the last two years. The Memory Clinic is a very successful service in Qatar that uses an integrated multidisciplinary approach to managing dementia and memory loss.
The Geriatric Orthopedic Services clinic provides expert geriatrician and multidisciplinary team rehabilitation care for elderly patients with hip fractures and other bone related issues. The service improvements implemented have resulted in a 23% reduction in wait times from referral to consultation between 2019 and 2020.
“Our OPD geriatric clinics ensure high quality specialized health care service delivery, inclusive of preventive, diagnostic as well as treatment services to people aged 60 and above. In-line with the National Health Strategy goals on healthy ageing, our aim is to provide age-appropriate outpatient settings that are suited to the needs of our older patients. This has enabled faster access for older people to specialised geriatric care, which has an important impact on their health outcomes,” added Dr. Al Hamad.