• 10/18/2015
    Qatar’s ageing population and the healthcare challenges this brings, has meant there is a new emphasis on geriatric medicine, according to Dr. Hanadi Al Hamad, Acting Chair of Elderly Geriatrics at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC).

    “In the 21st century, we have seen a significant change in demography with average life expectancy increasing,” she said. “Qatar is no exception, with the elderly population increasing rapidly.”

    Dr. Al Hamad, one of a cadre of Qatari doctors in clinical leadership roles at HMC, said that as a specialist in geriatrics, the emphasis is on treating the “whole patient, taking every aspect of their life into account” including culture and tradition.

    “Many geriatric patients suffer up to four or more medical problems, including decline in memory, and new problems such as confusion, falls, incontinence, weight loss, or depression,” she explained.  “We take care of the physical, emotional and social needs of the patient and focus on giving them a high quality of life and functional ability,” she said.

    “As a senior physician in geriatrics, I am responsible for overseeing and coordinating all services provided by our team. Our physicians work within a multi-disciplinary team which includes physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, dieticians and other allied health care professionals.”

    The Geriatrics Department at HMC operates across multiple sites and hospitals and Dr. Al Hamad said the range of services and specialties was broad and inclusive.

    “Most of our patients with complex medical problems are admitted to Rumailah Hospital’s long term care wards and adult ventilator units,” she said. “We see more than 150 patients in our outpatient unit in Rumailah Hospital. At Hamad General Hospital, we have an Acute Geriatrics unit for elderly patients suffering from functional decline or an acute illness or injury that has provoked a decrease in their functional abilities.”

    “My team also covers HMC Home Health Care Services which enables more than 1000 patients to be visited in their homes. Home visits and emergency visits by our multi-disciplinary teams enable elderly patients to retain their independence. We also provide geriatric care and consultations for older adults who are hospitalized and have special needs.”

    Dr. Al Hamad said that HMC and her department were continually looking at new services that can help improve the lives of patients. “We are providing new and innovative services like a memory clinic and a falls prevention clinic,” she said.

    Also under Dr. Al Hamad’s supervision is the groundbreaking Enaya Specialized Care Center which operates as a long-term care complex for patients who require round-the-clock monitoring and treatment from specialist nurses and doctors.

    “The Enaya Specialized Care Center is the only one of its type in the country and one of the first in the Arab world,” Dr. Al Hamad said adding: “We use a patient-centered care approach with each patient having an individualized care plan. We also encourage patients’ families to have input into care plans.”

    Dr Al Hamad said as a Qatari, she was proud to be leading her department and playing a pivotal role in its development while also helping to make a real difference to the lives of patients and the community. “Understanding the tradition and culture of the place where we live and work is very important,” she said. “I believe that it is essential to build a cadre of Qatari clinical expertise who can understand the problems experienced and work on solutions that are compatible,” Dr. Al Hamad added.