HMC opens palliative care unit at cancer and research centre

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KevinWaller

Dr Hanan Al Kuwari, MANAGING DIRECTOR, HMC, with other officials and staff at the new 10-bed supportive and palliative care unit.DOHA: A new 10-bed Supportive and Palliative Care Unit has opened at National Centre for Cancer Care and Research (NCCCR).

Palliative care takes a holistic approach and looks at the whole person, whether their needs are physical, emotional, spiritual or social.Inaugurating the unit, Dr Hanan Al Kuwari, MANAGING DIRECTOR, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), said it was a very important milestone in the journey of transformation for cancer services.

“Patients who need support with symptom control in the late stages of their illnesses, can RECEIVE the care they need in privacy and with dignity at the unit.

“It aims to ensure the best possible quality of life, supporting patients and their families in a dedicated, specialised ENVIRONMENT. I am thankful to all those who have contributed time and effort to develop the service and am delighted to be able to declare it open.

”Professor Alexander Knuth, Medical Director, NCCCR, said a large multi-disciplinary team was involved in the development of the unit in addition to support from community groups.

“The unit has 10 single en-suite rooms and the aim is that they feel like a comfortable ‘home-away-from-home’ for our patients.

“Each room has been decorated to feel a little less like a hospital. American Women’s Association donated time and effort to add some finishing touches to the rooms,” he said.

The unit also has an activity room and a multi-disciplinary team to look after patients, including specialist doctors, clinical nurse specialists and healthcare professionals, such as dieticians and clinical psychologists. It has been designed with palliative care in mind and is therefore a tranquil ENVIRONMENT conducive to providing end-of-life care.

Since the launch of the National Cancer Strategy in 2011, HMC has implemented service enhancements which have directly improved the care delivered to cancer patients.

These include increasing the number of dedicated multi-disciplinary teams, successfully meeting the two-day target time for urgent cancer referrals to be seen by a specialist, and increasing the number of specialist cancer clinics.

It recently launched a new programme at NCCCR — ‘Putting Patients First’ — to assess patient experience to ensure patients always remain at the centre of healthcare delivery at the hospital.

An interactive patient experience app was also launched to measure the quality of patient experience in the hospital in real time so that quick action can be taken based on the results received.