To ease the strain on hospitals caused by patients who stay on after discharge, the Hamad Medical Corporation yesterday launched an innovative programme aimed at providing holistic and specialised support to patients who have been discharged from the hospital but require follow-up care and rehabilitation. The Home Healthcare Services (HHCS) programme, which takes healthcare experts to the homes of patients, is a response to the changes taking place in the healthcare system.
“The HHCS promises to make a significant difference to the lives of the patients and their families by providing the services at home and educating the family members on caring for the patient,” said Dr Latifa Al Houti, Chairperson, HMC, while inaugurating the service.
The programme is aiming at getting JCI accreditation, which would make the HMC programme the first of its kind in the region to be accredited. Only four countries have similarly accredited programmes.
The HMC aims to ensure the high quality of care the hospitals provide does not cease when patients are discharged from the hospital. “The strong obligation that we feel towards our patients and our deep concern for their well-being beyond immediate medical attention is the driving force behind this initiative. The goal is not only to free up hospital facilities for other patients who may otherwise be unable to receive medical treatment from a crowded hospital. We are focussed on enabling families to assume their vital role in caring for their loved ones, and on enhancing the ability of recovering patients to function independently and productively as members of the community,” Dr Al Houti said.
The HHCS is a part of many community service programmes the hospital aims to undertake to improve the reach and continuity of healthcare services in the country. The programme is expected to reduce the need for unnecessary and prolonged hospitalisation of the patient. The objective is to encourage family involvement and support caregivers at home through a collaborative approach and
“This is not an easy task but we take it as a challenge, an opportunity to show our commitment to excellence in patient care. I am proud to say that the results of a patient satisfaction survey that we conducted in November 2008 have surpassed our established benchmark,” Dr Al Houti added.
The services will be provided from 7am to 3pm on weekdays, with regular home visits from the staff based on an established plan of care. A case manager will assess the need for home visits outside of working hours, and assign appropriate staff members. Staffing needs will be based on the number
“Currently we have 500 patients under the service, most of whom are long-term patients and we have a plan to expand gradually into various phases to accept patients from different age groups with different healthcare needs,” said Dr Nabila Al Meer, Executive Director of Nursing.
Out of 496 patients who benefited from the service last month (May 2009), 428 were Qataris. Sixty-seven percent of those who availed the service were females, 51 percent were diabetic and 12 of the patients were on a ventilator. These people were cared for by a staff of 100 that includes healthcare providers and administrative staff.
To be considered for home healthcare, the patient should not require close medical supervision or full-time care by a physician or a HMC nurse. There should be a designated person to primarily care for the patient and receive relevant education under the HHCS programme. Also, the facilities in the patient’s home should be adequate for the safe provision of care.
The HMC has successfully integrated the previous Rumailah Geriatric Home Care Service with the new Home Healthcare Service in order to standardise patient care in the community and expand the service.
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