A memory clinic, which is designed for early diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of severe memory loss among the elderly, is to be opened at the Rumailah Hospital by December this year.
The first-of-its-type clinic in Qatar, expected to run once a week, will have on its staff a geriatrician, one psycho-geriatric consultant and a specialist as well as an occupational therapist who will be assisting with the cognitive treatment of the elderly patients.
Dementia is caused by the loss of certain brain cells that occur with certain diseases. Most types of dementia are non-reversible (degenerative). Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia.
“Because we have a lot of memory-loss-related cases among our geriatric patients, we plan to establish a special clinic to provide the holistic care they deserve,” Rumailah Hospital’s geriatric consultant, Dr Hanadi al-Hamad, told reporters yesterday.
She explained the clinic would be a multi-disciplinary centre, offering psycho-geriatric assistance to aged people who are suffering from dementia and being referred from any hospital across the country. At the clinic, each patient will be evaluated for at least one hour before treatment begins. Follow-up treatment will be required every three-six months to check the effectiveness of the medication.
“The clinic is being envisaged as a centre that will be providing full care, including memory loss treatment as well as preventive care for the elderly. This also includes providing education on factors that could lead to memory loss among the elderly people,” Dr al-Hamad stated.
“We will provide tips about different types of diets that can help or mar the health of the elderly. We will also educate them about the importance of vitamins A and E in the prevention of dementia problems such as Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia being caused by severe stroke,” she said.
Some causes of dementia may be stopped or reversed if they are detected early, including brain injury, brain tumours, chronic alcohol abuse, changes in blood sugar, sodium and calcium levels and low vitamin B12 levels.
“Dementia usually occurs in the older age starting from 65 years and its risk increases as a person gets older. Worldwide, the prevalence of dementia among those aged 65 years is 5% while it is 20% and 30% among those aged 75 and 85 years respectively,” senior consultant geriatrics Dr Marwan Ramadan said.
According to him, severe dementia could be life-threatening if it occurs in somebody aged 80 years and above. Because Qatar has a life expectancy of 77 years for its males and 78 years for its female population, there has been a plan to establish a respite care or day care for the elderly in the country.
“HMC’s plan is to improve its community-based health delivery by looking after the elderly in their homes instead of bringing them to a day care,” Dr Ramadan noted, adding that the planned “respite care” would serve as a day care centre looking after the elderly on a short-term basis.
“The plan is to establish the centre to provide support for families when they need someone to look after their elderly when they are busy with other things and this is going to be a drop-in day care centre only,” he maintained.
However, the Rumailah Hospital’s Geriatrics Department, which presently houses some 110 in-patients and some 80 patients at the Skilled Nursing facility within the Medical City, has plans to open another 80-bed facility for its patients at the Medical City.
It also provides care to some 760 elderly as part of the Home Care Services apart from the weekly geriatric clinic, which receives up to 650 patients per week. Also, to improve its services, the department will host a four-day conference between September 18-21 to discuss geriatric issues. The conference is being organised by the Middle East Academy for Medicine of Ageing (MEAMA) in co-ordination with the International Association of Geriontology and Geriatrics (IAGG). It will discuss the possibility of forming a Middle Eastern chapter of the IAGG in Qatar.
Geriatric specialists from Switzerland, Italy, Holland, Iceland, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Qatar will attend.
source: Gulf Times
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