Hamad Medical Corporation said Tuesday that they prepared a plan to protect the elderly from the threats of Coronavirus (COVID-19). The plan was prepared in cooperation with World Health Organization (WHO).
Qatar has been a strategic partner in the World Health Organizations (WHO) global efforts to develop guidelines and frameworks for interventions that also focus on at risk population groups, such as older persons. An elderly telephone reassurance service has been launched with staff from the Geriatric and Long-term Care Department at Hamad Medical Corporation contacting people who are 60 years and older. An additional aim of this initiative is to identify any potential healthcare risks early on and arrange appropriate medical care. This approach aims to reduce the danger of the healthcare issue becoming more acute and possibly requiring hospitalization.
The National Lead for Healthy Aging in Qatar Dr. Hanadi Al Hamad said it was important to be aware of the challenges that older people with health problems face generally and especially during the current situation that restricts social interaction. While the current precautionary measures are there to reduce the risk of the virus spreading among our older adults; the potential for social isolation can also be difficult for the elderly.
"Older people are a vulnerable group as their immunity tends to be lower than younger people, especially if they have other health problems, such as heart or kidney disease, or are being treated for cancer or other illnesses. A less strong immune system means their bodies are less able to fight off a viral infection. As there is no vaccine for this virus, the emphasis worldwide is largely on adopting precautionary measures for prevention and slowing down the transmission of the illness," Dr Al Hamad said.
"It is important for our older population to maintain physical distancing measures outlined by the Government for their protection as well as others, and for this to continue during Ramadan and possibly Eid. It is equally important that this is not misinterpreted as social isolation as that could have detrimental effect on our elderly physical and mental well-being. Social isolation and limited access to COVID-19 related information or even access to misinformation through various social media channels can compound the challenge of keeping them safe and reducing the need to visit a hospital," she added.
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