Abu Dhabi health care services boost for older patients

Patients aged 60 and over will be given escorts, priority parking and a dedicated health card as part of scheme launched by public health body Seha

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - March 26, 2019: Yousef Al Ketbi speaks. SHEA announces plans for the elderly. Tuesday the 26th of March 2019 at Seha, Abu Dhabi. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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Patients aged 60 and over will benefit from care at home, be escorted to appointments and receive treatment more quickly as part of a bid to boost health services and slash waiting times for older people in Abu Dhabi.

Seha - the body that owns and operates all public hospitals and clinics in the emirate - has launched a new initiative, called Your Health is our Responsibility, to improve patient experiences at two of the main hospitals serving the UAE capital.

Patients aged 60 and over account for 20 per cent of the emirate's patient population - and health chiefs are eager to ensure they are well cared for.

The service has been rolled out immediately at Tawam Hospital in Al Ain and the flagship Sheikh Khalifa Medical City in Abu Dhabi, as well as specialist outpatient clinics which serve the two facilities.

Seha plans to extend the scheme to other clinics in the emirate in the future.

As part of the initiative, patients will be provided with a wide variety of services, from psychological care to priority parking and transportation, while a hotline will be set up to help patients to manage appointments.

Hospital representatives will be on hand escort patients to their appointments and meet with family members to discuss health plans and translators will be provided when needed.

Doctors and  nursing staff will also carry out house visits to patients who are unable to attend hospitals and carry out screenings and administer vaccines and medications.

Dr Noura Alghaithi, acting chief operating officer of Seha's ambulatory health services, said the move was being made to ensure all sections of society have access to care.

“Some elderly patients have a fear of going to hospitals and clinic and we don’t want that to be a reason for them not receiving proper health care and for the segment of society to be neglected,” said Dr Alghaithi.

Yousef Al Kitbi, acting chief operating officer at Tawam Hospital, said that staff will escort patients through the registration process and medications will be personally brought to them, meaning that they will not be required to go to the pharmacy to pick up them up.

Acting chief operating officer of SKMC, Dr Shamma Al Mazrouei, said that patients will be followed up with after appointments and given reminder calls about upcoming appointments.

Seha officials said the scheme aims to cut waiting times for patients in the targeted age group by 70 per cent.

“The elderly are a priority and an important segment of society,” said Dr Waheeda Abdulla, group customer relations director at Seha.

Patients will also have a specific health card, called Absher, which will give them priority access to Seha facilities.