Posted on July 10, 2013

The Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) will ensure that by 2014 there will be home care services in place for everyone in Qatar meeting the eligibility criteria, counting on specially trained staff, it was announced yesterday. This is one of the ten pledges made by PHCC in the National Primary HealthCare Strategy 2013-2018.

Currently, PHCC is providing home care services for only around 200 people, comprising 94% Qataris. As many as 90% of patients are 60 or over.  The most common home visit reason is for insulin injection, followed by blood pressure monitoring, checking fasting blood sugar levels and wound dressing.

Each health centre allocates two nurses that provide home healthcare, alongside their other clinical duties in the first two hours of a morning (7.30 to 9.30am) and evening (4.30-6.30pm) shift. These nurses have no specialist training to deliver home healthcare services. They have an average of just five minutes per patient and have to rely on the car and driver attached to each health centre, having no dedicated transport.

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In this context, the five-year strategy envisages that home care should be a separate division of PHCC with its own budget and dedicated staff, so that it is properly resourced. Staff will be trained in the complexities of providing home care including enabling patients, families and carers to take responsibility for care if they wish.

In addition, written policies and procedures regarding type of patients to be served, scope of services, referrals in and out of the service, eligibility and discharge criteria should all be developed. The plan, designed over a 12-month period with the collaboration of international experts, also provisions for the future that each patient receiving home health care should have their own care plan.

In the future, services will be available seven days a week during the morning (7.30-11am) and the evening (4.30-8pm). Patients and their families should also be able to call the home healthcare team direct during those hours of operation if they have any concerns or issues.

Home health care in Qatar is also looking to explore the potential for making use of new technology, such as Gluco Phones, cell phones that measure blood sugar, can transmit results to health professionals and can even manage meal plans, reads the National Primary Health Care Strategy.

source: Al Raya Newspaper, Gulf Times

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