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Elderly home care services to be unified

Ministry of Health organize workshop in coordination with WHO

Dubai: With 5 per cent of the Emirati population above the age of 60, the Ministry of Health’s efforts to unify elderly home care services in the UAE under one scheme will ensure all elderly receive the standard care they need, a World Health Organisation (WHO) consultant told Gulf News on Thursday.

The ministry on Thursday organised a workshop with WHO to announce its goals to standardise policies and strategies for elderly home care services in the UAE. As part of the workshop, they also brought together health professionals to discuss ways to improve these services with recommendations from WHO.

DrManar Mustafa, associate professor of Geriatrics and Gerontology at Shams University in Egypt and a WHO temporary consultant, spoke about the importance of home care programmes in reaching out to elders who are incapable of leaving their homes and mentioned some of WHO’s recommendations for the UAE. “One of the recommendations we have suggested to them is to focus on providing more services as part of the home care service. The goal of the home care service is to not only provide medical help, but also rehabilitation and all kinds of social and psychological care so that the elderly can regain their role and be an active member of society.”

The elderly health care programmes in the UAE meet very high standards,” DrManar said, “but there is still a shortage of geriatrics across the nation, which needs to be addressed.”

Dr Amal Al Jaziri, head of the Elderly Care Unit in the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) Primary Health Care Sector, said with 22,000 elders in Dubai and 2,290 disabled, the DHA has been planning how to improve their home care services since they launched it in 2011.

“We have 619 patients registered who are mostly bed- and chair-bound. We have a target to reach 100 per cent of our target group by 2018 as we continue to improve our services.”

Dr Amal said the DHA home care services, that address both Emiratis and expatriates, have been able to provide their patients, aged between 70 and 80, with a comprehensive geriatric assessment, nursing care, home safety evaluations, rehabilitation and nutrition assessment among others.

A bus that has facilities to conduct several health tests and provide immediate results between seven to 10 minutes, she said, was one of the additions to the home-care programmes. To further enhance their home care services, she said they will launch a mobile application, which will serve as a database and include all the details of their home care patients.

“In October, we are planning to launch a mobile application to be used by home care nurses. The app will include the patient’s care plan and will send notify nurses and doctors on due date visits. It will also include the location of the patient’s home.”