• 3/12/2024

    Doha: 12 March, 2024 – The Community Rehabilitation Department at the Qatar Rehabilitation Institute (QRI) at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) handled 5343 cases in 2023.

    Community-based rehabilitation means assessment, advice and tailored rehabilitation support that takes place in settings outside of a traditional hospital – it helps people with long-term conditions, injuries, or illness to live well for longer.

    "Receiving this number of patients in one year reflects the quality of healthcare services provided to the elderly and the provision of therapeutic programs to meet the individual rehabilitation needs of each patient. The QRI is committed to developing rehabilitation services provided to patients," said Dr. Hanadi Al Hamad, Deputy Chief of Long-Term Care, Rehabilitation, and Geriatric Care at HMC.

    “The care provided at the QRI relies on comprehensive therapeutic programs overseen by a multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, and allied health professionals, with the involvement of the patient's family in their treatment plan.”

    Dr. Wafa Al Yazidi, Director of the Community Rehabilitation Department at the QRI said there was an increase in patients accessing community rehabilitation services between 2020 and 2023,

    “This is evidence of the importance of the services provided by the Community Rehabilitation Department and its positive effects on patients and society,” Dr. Al Yazidi said. “The Community Rehabilitation Department received 1345 patient in 2020 and 4304 patients in 2021 and 4457 patients in 2022.

    "The global medical trend currently relies on healthcare outside the hospital walls, leading to a shift from merely ensuring the quality of care to ensuring the quality of life for patients receiving healthcare.”

    According to Dr. Al Yazidi, the Community Rehabilitation Department at QRI provides services to about 2,600 patients annually, most of whom are elderly or have special needs. Rather than accessing care in a hospital setting, patients receive treatment in a suitable environment, adapted and prepared, surrounded by their family members, and in a comfortable place, by a competent team capable of providing services efficiently and making appropriate decisions.

    Dr. Al Yazidi said HMC uses the latest technology to help improve the quality of life for rehabilitation patients and are based on different senses such as hearing, vision, and touch.

    "We provide devices for the blind that receive commands through speech, making it easier for them to work normally without obstacles or providing devices for those with visual impairments where we ensure they use large screens,” Dr. Al Yazidi said.

    Dr. Al Yazidi added that the scope of community rehabilitation management services is expanding to include home assessments and adapting the environment based on diagnosis.

     "If the community rehabilitation patient has special needs and depends on a wheelchair, it is essential to inspect the bathroom, kitchen, and any area of the home they frequent, in terms of slopes. At this stage, we make necessary modifications such as installing handrails. This is not limited to the home but also includes the workplace, where we ensure that the patient works in a suitable environment by inspecting the bathroom, desk, chair and placing the computer at an appropriate height,” she said.

    Dr. Al Yazidi said it was important to involve families in the treatment journey.

    "While we provide our services at home, we interact with the entire family, as they will receive guidance on how to deal with the patient and will be trained for the rehabilitation process. This ensures that the patient does not need to return to the hospital for further treatment."

    The impact of community rehabilitation extends beyond economic and environmental aspects to foster family cohesion. For example, children may organize their schedules to take turns caring for their parents or the rehabilitation recipient, creating a positive psychological impact that reduces the need for the patient to return to the hospital.

    Dr. Al Yazidi stressed that the key to ensuring the success and smoothness of community rehabilitation lies in the human element, represented by rehabilitation teams consisting of specialists in physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, device coordinators, home, work, and school environment assessors, as well as specialists tasked with reintegrating them into their normal lives at work and school through daily visits to rehabilitation recipients.

    "We strive during this year to include our services in all areas of the country and to restart the operation of mobile physiotherapy units” Dr. Al Yazidi said. “We also aim to initiate research and projects related to the quality of community rehabilitation and work on increasing community activities for patients with the goal of raising awareness and health literacy among patients and their families."

    The Community Rehabilitation Department at QRI is working to establish hubs geographically closer to where patients live. Each hub will have a dedicated and trained team to strengthen the relationship between the team and the patients in a specific area.

    Typically, five or six patients are grouped in these centers and receive rehabilitation collectively, which creates an incentive for them to recover faster. If a patient is unable to come to the center, a team member will visit their home.