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HMC geriatrics meet to focus on better care for the elderly.

LANI ROSE R DIZON DOHA THE principles of geriatric medicines will be the highlight of the geriatrics conference, which will be organised by the Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) in partnership with the Middle East Academy for Medicine of Ageing (MEAMA) from September 18.

The four-day event, to be held at the Hamad Medical City Club House, is supported by the HMC Medical Education Department and will be attended by professionals in the field.

The conference is held twice a year at different locations.

Speaking to mediapersons on Tuesday, Dr Marwan Ramadan, a senior geriatric consultant at Rumaillah Hospital, said the conference would feature a group of geriatric specialists from Qatar, Switzerland, Italy, Holland, Iceland, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE.

"Trainees who attend four courses will receive a diploma from MEAMA, and after doing some research project, he/she can apply to an Australian university for a bachelor degree in geriatrics," Ramadan added.

He said the conference would be followed by a meeting of members of the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics (IAGG) in Doha to discuss the formation of a chapter for the Middle East.

Ramadan said, "We are confident that the IAGG will choose Qatar as the base for the Middle East chapter, which will be a great achievement for the HMC".

Speaking about geriatrics care in Qatar, Ramadan said Qatar was a signatory to the Vienna Convention in 1992 when it signed a manifesto for the care of the elderly.

"We have been applying the World Health Strategy which stresses that the elderly patient should be treated not only for physical ailments but care be taken also of psychological, social wellbeing of the patients.

The Supreme Council for Family Affairs has also completed a strategy for elderly care in 2004.

The government has been providing all services and support such as homecare, community outreach programmes and respite homes in order to keep the patients at home with their families. The HMC, on the other hand, is working on improving the professional ability of its physicians and policies on reducing the number of admissions," he added.

Ramadan said life expectancy in Qatar was 77 for males and 78 for females, which is nearly equivalent to European standards.

Dr Hanadi al Hamad, geriatric consultant at the Rumaillah Hospital, said a total of 110 geriatric patients, including Qataris and non-Qataris male and females, are currently admitted at the in-patient clinics at the Rumaillah Hospital.

She said the Skilled Nursing Facility 1 at the Hamad Medical City has around 80 patients while the Skilled Nursing Facility 2, which will be launched next year, will have additional 80 beds.

"We also run service for homecare, which, till now, has about 760 patients. The number of patients we are seeing at the outpatient geriatrics clinic has reached around 650 per week," she added.

Besides the memory clinic which is expected to be opened by the year-end, Hamad said a respite care for the elderly would also be launched at the Skilled Nursing Facility 2 at the Hamad Medical City in 2013.

She said, "It is similar to a day care facility, but for the elderly people. It will have 10 beds.

Family members who are busy during the daytime or those leaving the country for vacation can leave their elderly ones at the centre for some time."

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Publication:Qatar Tribune (Doha, Qatar)
Geographic Code:7QATA
Date:Sep 5, 2012
Words:570
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