Doha, 15 February, 2021: A unique collaboration between specialist multidisciplinary healthcare teams in geriatric medicine, internal medicine, medical intensive care units (MICU) across Rumailah Hospital, Hamad General Hospital, has led to the co-creation of Qatar’s first Acute Weaning Unit. The new therapeutic service is dedicated to liberating patients from mechanical ventilation and enabling them to breath normally and thereby gain more independence. The state-of-the-art unit was formally opened in the presence of Her Excellency Dr. Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari, the Minister of Public Health, and senior leaders from HMC and Rumailah Hospital.
“Rumailah Hospital is Qatar’s longest running hospital and is exemplary in how it keeps developing and expanding its services to provide specialist care to patients. The Acute Weaning Unit marks a new achievement for Rumailah Hospital during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, complementing the numerous other specialist services established there over the past year. This unit has and will continue to enable patients who post health crisis such as strokes or infections to return to normal life. It is also a testimony to the strength of the clinical leadership teams across HMC who have never wavered in their efforts to help protect and care for their patients,” said H.E. Dr. Al Kuwari.
Hanadi Khamis Al Hamad, National Lead for Healthy Ageing in Qatar and Medical Director of Rumailah Hospital (RH), stated that a major goal of managing any patient who requires prolonged mechanical ventilation (PMV) is to try and wean them off from the mechanical ventilator as soon as possible after it is deemed clinically safe.
“Reducing the amount of time a patient spends on the ventilator can substantially improve their quality of life. However, the process of waning patients who have been on a ventilator for a prolonged period of time can be challenging both clinically and emotionally for the patients and their families. Our team of experts are trained to provide specialist clinical support to patients who require basic respiratory support and minimum hourly observation. As this is a step-down unit, (where patients are no longer deemed to be in a critical stage), families can also benefit from having closer interaction and more time with their loved ones,” said Dr. Al-Hamad.
Dr. Nadir Kharma, Senior Consultant MICU spearheaded the program, with support and guidance from the senior leadership team, including Hanadi Al Hamad and Dr. Abdulaziz Al Darwish, A/CEO-Rumailah Hospital and Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Clinical Affairs & Auditing and Dr. AbdulSalam Saif Ibrahim, Senior Consultant, Division Head of MICU, Hamad General Hospital (HGH). He explained that this multidisciplinary, rehabilitative service is offered in a highly specialized, healing and caring environment which provides the physical, cognitive, and palliative therapies needed to recuperate.
“Once fully operational, the unit will have 13 beds, including three with dialysis capability, a dedicated therapy room and spaces for multidisciplinary (MDT) staff meetings, pharmaceuticals and supplies. The close collaboration between physicians, nurses and allied health professionals is essential to providing the necessary holistic care to patients to help them on their journey of recovery. This unit is an ideal place for continuous monitoring of the patient’s condition during the initial phase of admission to the weaning unit and during active weaning trials,” said Dr. Kharma.
Dr. Ibrahim explained that a mechanical ventilator is an essential device to help patients breathe (ventilate) when they cannot do so on their own, either during surgery or due to a critical illness.
“We have had several acute COVID-19 cases where the patient had to be placed on a ventilator due to the severity of the infection. While mechanical ventilation is often essential to keep a person alive, but like many other clinical interventions, the risk of infection is what drives physicians to wean patients off the ventilator as soon as possible. Not only can reducing the number of days of mechanical ventilation reduce the likelihood of ventilator-associated pneumonia but being able to breath without a tube enables the patient to speak, become more functionally mobile and give them a sense of being more in control again,” said Dr. Ibrahim. “This unit provides an excellent facility for patients who have been transferred from the intensive care units in HGH, to help them in the next phase of their recovery process.”