Demand for UAE long-term care on the rise

The demand for home care services in this country have grown and are projected to increase by 20 per cent by next year

Long-term care is defined as the non-acute treatment, care and support required for more than a week by a person, including geriatric care and home care, according to analysts and the Health Authority of Abu Dhabi (Haad). In Abu Dhabi, a long term care facility is licensed by Haad as a hospital, a post-acute hospital, a rehabilitation facility or a nursing home facility.

In Abu Dhabi, public providers include Tawam Hospital, Abu Dhabi Rehabilitation Center, Al Ain Hospital, Behavioral Sciences Pavilion, Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, Al Rahba Hospital, Madinat Zayed Hospital and Ghiathy Hospital among others.

There, patients are usually taken care of at critical care units. There was a capacity shortfall of 93 beds in 2011, according to Haad. The desired occupancy rate should be 75 per cent. In 2011, there were 598 critical care beds, including 146 intensive care units (ICU).

It estimated that 216 additional critical care beds will be required by 2031.

Home care services are, however, under-utilised in Abu Dhabi. In the United States, 25 per cent of the patients discharged are referred to home care. That proportion was 3.5 per cent at Tawam Hospital and 2.7 per cent at SKMC, Mafraq and Al Rahba Hospitals in 2010, the latest figures available.

The length of time home care services are required varies from short term for diabetes mellitus and longer such as more than a year for cancer. It can also be a lifetime of care, says Dr Mohammed Ali Obaid, a general practitioner at Venecia Medical Center For Rehabilitation in Abu Dhabi. Most of the patients require care for paraplegia, cancer, diabetic or cardiac diseases.

The demand for such services in this country have grown and are projected to increase by 20 per cent by next year, when 2,241 patients are expected to avail of home health-care services, up from an estimated 2,136 this year, according to a HAAD report in 2012.

While those above 65 years form the majority of recipients of such services, children up to nine years form the next large recipient group. Diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and neuropsychiatric conditions are among the common conditions for which patients seek such services.

ssahoo@thenational.ae

Published: December 27, 2014 04:00 AM

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