Doha 2 May 2023: Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Department of Geriatrics and Long-Term Care has been spearheading efforts to educate healthcare staff, carers, and family members about integrated and holistic care approaches for older patients encapsulated by the Age-Friendly Health System approach. In line with the Department’s remit as a WHO Collaborating Center for Healthy Ageing and Dementia, the team, led by Dr. Hanadi Al-Hamad, National Health Strategy Lead for Healthy Ageing in Qatar, Chairperson of the Department of Geriatrics and Long-Term Care at HMC, arranged a public educational display in the lobby of Hamad General Hospital to promote awareness about delirium and the essential elements of age-friendly health systems.
The display was toured by senior HMC executives, including Mr. Ali Al-Janahi, Chief of Tertiary Hospitals Group at HMC; Dr. Abdulla Al-Ansari, Chief Medical Officer at HMC; Ms. Mariam Al-Mutawa, Acting Chief Nursing Officer; and Mr. Nasser Al Naimi, Deputy Chief of Quality, and Director at Hamad Healthcare Quality Institute (HHQI) and the Centre for Patient Experience and Staff Engagement (CPESE), who support Age-Friendly health systems.
Mr. Ali Al-Janahi said that offering holistic care is the basis of providing more integrated care that meets the needs of older people: “Health systems around the world were generally developed for a younger demographic, whereas older people’s health issues need to be managed in a more integrated way, with better coordination between care providers, across different settings (including inpatient, outpatient, and home environments) and over time. Our Geriatric team is doing an excellent job in collaborating with other healthcare teams to establish improved healthcare pathways and address the problems that matter to older people and their families – this is what we mean by patient-centered care.”
Dr. Abdulla Al-Ansari, Chief Medical Officer at HMC said he welcomed the efforts of Dr. Hanadi Al-Hamad and her team to provide education to patients and visitors: “As our population ages, the concept of Age friendly care will increase in importance. Public Health initiatives like this, along with education for our clinicians, will ensure we are delivering the very best standard of care for older patients.”
Ms. Mariam Al-Mutawa, Acting Chief Nursing Officer at HMC said that nurses play a significant role in Age-Friendly healthcare: “Age-friendly care addresses the unique needs and wants of those who come to us for professional and compassionate care. It is care that is safe and which does not merely view them as patients but recognizes the individual’s needs and preferences. In an inpatient setting, nurses spend the most time with patients and are therefore integral to the delivery of age-friendly care.”
Mr. Nasser Al Naimi, Deputy Chief of Quality, and Director at Hamad Healthcare Quality Institute (HHQI) and the Centre for Patient Experience and Staff Engagement (CPESE) explained the basic tenets of Age-Friendly healthcare: “Research shows that better health outcomes are achieved if there is a joint endeavor between patients, families, and care providers to pay attention to the essential elements of age-friendly care known as the 4Ms: what Matters, Medication, Mentation and Mobility. This approach aligns with our Quality Improvement goals as well as our Patient-Centered Care goals.”
Dr. Hanadi Al-Hamad, who is also Medical Director at Rumailah Hospital and Qatar Rehabilitation Institute, explained that many older patients face multiple healthcare challenges that need to be addressed holistically, such as chronic pain, and management of ongoing difficulties with hearing, seeing, walking or performing daily activities.
“We urge our older patients and their families to learn more about how age-friendly health systems can benefit. We promote joint engagement between patients, their families and healthcare providers that incorporate the principles of the 4Ms approach. We encourage older patients to share their goals and priorities so others understand ‘what matters’ to them. They need to be more aware of the impact of the medications they use, as excessive or incorrect medication intake can lead to other health challenges. We recommend consultation with a healthcare professional about their memory and mood to eliminate other possible neurological concerns. And lastly, for older people to remain as mobile and independent as possible, we recommend they ask about ways to help them keep more active and moving, whether during hospital stays or at home.”