• 2/18/2020

    HMC Helping Parents of Long-Term Ventilated Children Gain the Confidence to be More Involved in the Care of their Children

    Doha, 18 February, 2020: Staff at Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Al Maha 1 Children’s Unit are helping empower the women who are part of the mother’s support group by providing them with the skills needed to take a more hands-on role in the care of their children. Thought to be the first of its kind in the region, the mother’s support group was launched two years ago and has provided an important platform for the women. 

    The Al Maha 1 Children’s Unit at Rumailah Hospital provides specialized care for children who have complex, long-term health conditions. The unit cares for children aged three months to 14 years and the length of stay for each child varies from months to years, depending on their diagnosis. More than 90% of the children cared for at the 26-bed long-term care facility have their breathing supported by a mechanical ventilator.

    Ms. Lilllykutty Joseph, Head Nurse at Al Maha 1, says many of the family members of patients at the unit are involved in the day-to-day care of their children. She says many visit daily and are active members of their child’s care team.

    “Including families as active members of the healthcare team can improve clinical decision making. There is a lot of evidence to show the value of including family members as part of the healthcare team. Since the launch of our mother’s support group, we have seen how effective this structured platform has been in helping to reduce some of the stress on our patient’s families,” said Ms. Joseph.

    “It has also resulted in improved communication between parents and care teams. We have always taken time to educate and teach family members how to do some of the routine tasks of patient care, but providing the mothers who are part of the support group with additional training has been a goal we set for ourselves,” added Ms. Joseph.

    A Basic Life Support (BLS) certification was recently offered to women who are part of the mother’s support group. Thirteen Qatari mothers completed the training and some were also trained in tracheostomy care. Ms. Joseph says providing the training was an important part of helping to empower the mothers, particularly when it comes to managing emergency situations that happen outside the hospital. 

    She says while children cared for at Al Maha 1 are inpatients, many leave the facility as part of planned home visits. She says the goal is to transition the children, where possible, back into the community and she noted that the home visits are an important part of that process.

    “This certification gave them confidence in their abilities by allowing them to have their skills and knowledge evaluated by experts in a safe and controlled environment,” said Ms. Joseph.

    The mother of one patient who completed the certification explained that the training provided a confidence boost. Another mother agreed, noting that caring for a child with complex medical needs can be a very isolating and all-consuming experience. 
    “The training provided me with more confidence in my abilities. I feel more confident to help not only my child but also others who may need assistance,” said Mama Salem.

    In 2016, staff at Al Maha 1 implemented a successful program designed to help long-term ventilated children live at home. That program has seen over 60 children who had been hospitalized, in some cases for many years, safely transitioned back into the community.