It provides healthcare, rehabilitation and psychological care services for people aged 60 years and over
First Elderly Wellness Clinic Opened at Qatar Rehabilitation Institute
Dr. Hanadi Al-Hamad: We aim to improve a healthy lifestyle for the elderly, treat diseases and give them the opportunity to enjoy a better quality of life.
Dr. Noora Al-Kaabi: Provision of special preventive and treatment program for every patient including the health, physical and psychological aspects.
Doha, 26 January, 2021: Qatar Rehabilitation Institute (QRI) has recently opened its first wellness clinic dedicated for the elderly in Qatar. The new clinic is a preventive medicine clinic aimed at providing integrated medical, rehabilitation and psychological care for the elderly within the framework of the healthy aging priority under the National Health Strategy 2018-2022.
The Elderly Wellness Clinic includes a consultant in the specialty of Community Medicine and Preventive Medicine, a consultant of Internal Medicine for the elderly, a physiotherapist and a Dietician, in addition to a nursing team specialized in the field of elderly health. The clinic receives patients referred thereto from the age of sixty and over; males and females on Mondays every week, the days per week shall increase upon expansion of the clinic in the future.
Dr. Hanadi Al Hamad, Qatar’s National Health Strategy lead for Healthy Ageing and Medical Director of Qatar Rehabilitation Institute, said: “As part of the ongoing efforts to develop specialized care for the growing segment of the elderly population in Qatar, an Elderly Wellness Clinic has been opened, which provides the necessary health care for this category to help them improve their lifestyle so that the elderly can enjoy their life better in terms of health, psychological and physical aspects and with development of the health care in the State. The elderly category continues to grow and increase as an important segment of the society, which requires health care providers to develop specialized preventive and treatment programs that deal with the chronic health problems associated with the elderly that have become more widespread, such as weakness or frailty, dementia, musculoskeletal mass atrophy, difficulty of movement and falling".
Dr. Hanadi added, "dealing with these health problems is one of the greatest challenges at this period of time, so it is important to open a Wellness Clinic to provide best health care for the elderly as well as to enhance the expertise of healthcare providers for the elderly."
Currently the clinic operates on the medical referral system from Hamad Medical Corporation facilities, while in the future the clinic will receive patients referred thereto from the Primary Health Care Clinics. The patient can also book a new appointment themselves through the Appointments Department. The service is available within the Outpatient Department of Qatar Rehabilitation institute on a weekly basis, where it receives around 30 patients over the age of 60 per month.
Dr. Noura Al Kaabi- Community Medicine Consultant at Hamad Medical Corporation and Head of the Elderly Wellness Clinic, explained that the availability of multidisciplinary teams to provide assessment for elderly patients at QRI has contributed to the opening of the Wellness Clinic. Where the condition of each visitor of the clinic is evaluated in a comprehensive manner in terms of health, psychological, physical and rehabilitative aspects. Then a special preventive and treatment program is designed for each visitor to solve his health problems on one hand and it also helps them to promote a better healthy lifestyle that ensures the elderly live old age far from health problems and avoid effects of the chronic diseases.
Dr. Noura said: "Biometrics of the elderly such as height, weight and body mass index (BMI) calculation are performed at the beginning of visit to the clinic. Also the physician writes down medical history of the visitor and performs or repeats the laboratory tests and x-rays if necessary and evaluates the psychological state of the visitor such as anxiety, stress, depression and sleeping difficulties. After the medical evaluation of all health and psychological problems, including evaluation of the physiotherapist and the dietician of the Wellness Clinic, the preventive and treatment program for the visitor is designed according to type of the diseases and problems they are suffering from". She added, "With diversity of the health, psychological and movement problems associated with the elderly group, the preventive or treatment program may continue for several months, as the follow-up shall be carried out in the Clinic at the rate of a monthly visit with an additional visit six months after the first visit to the Clinic."
In the same context Dr. Biju Bhaskaran, Consultant of Internal Medicine and Geriatrics at QRI pointed out that the clinic provides follow-up care for elderly patients with a variety of previously diagnosed health conditions, such as strokes renal disease, cognitive impairments, diabetes, hypertension and obesity. Also early detection examinations necessary for this age group are carried out, such as early examination for bowel and colon cancer, and osteoporosis examination, in addition to that we care about giving the visitors all necessary vaccinations for this age group being among the most vulnerable groups to diseases such as the seasonal influenza vaccination and the pneumococcal vaccine.
Dr. Biju explained: “The patient is followed up by the Wellness Clinic physician in parallel with their benefit from services of the other specialized clinics that they may be referred to and from the physiotherapy program and the therapeutic feeding program of the Wellness Clinic, so that the patient shall be engaged in a healthy lifestyle different from the previous period. As a result positive effects shall appear gradually on them and on their general health".
About the physiotherapy program provided by the Wellness Clinic; Ms. Leila Khairallah, Senior Physiotherapist at QRI said that cases of the elderly people transferred from the Wellness Clinic often suffer from mobility difficulties, walking and falling risks, accordingly the treatment program is designed for each patient individually based on his mobility abilities and nature of the diseases suffered. The course of physiotherapy exercises aims to strengthen the muscles, maintain balance when walking and moving, improve the way of walking and integrate the elderly into the society as much as possible because a number of elderly who find it difficult to move tend to isolate themselves socially due to slow movement and difficulty of leaving the house.
Ms. Heba Al-Kasuri, Physiotherapist at QRI said: “Physiotherapy sessions for the elderly continue for several months, at a rate of two to three sessions per week. There is a gymnasium for male patients and another for women, each with a variety of exercise equipment, such as a treatment device for muscle failure that gives the muscles electrical impulses to wake up the muscles and alert them to start and continue moving. Also there are other devices to improve blood circulation in the body, improve movement of the lower extremities and improve the level of blood sugar, as well as walking devices to strengthen endurance and motion visual consistency by walking on the device in front of a mirror to adjust balance and prevent falling and devices to relieve back pain. Through these sessions, the elderly patient is also given the skills of climbing stairs and self-reliance in moving within the house".
Ms. Zahra Salman, Dietician, spoke about the nutrition programs that benefit the elderly patients visiting the Wellness Clinic, where measurements of the patient's body mass index (BMI) and fat percentage are performed, then a nutrition program is designed to reduce weight or to gain more weight in some cases of loss of appetite. Also specific nutrition programs are designed for diabetics and patients with high blood pressure, and through (My Dish) program designed by the Dietetics Department, the patient chooses their own dish that includes all necessary nutrients and the appropriate amount of water. Through continuous follow-up with a dietician once every two or three months, the therapeutic results shall clearly demonstrate improvement of the elderly's dietary pattern and weight loss, which shall help improving their health and alleviate the symptoms of chronic diseases from which they suffer.