Home health visits for the elderly

Home-care services for the elderly are being offered in Dubai.

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DUBAI // Elderly Emiratis can now receive home visits by trained healthcare professionals as part of a programme launched by the Dubai Health Authority.

A "home-care team" is made up of a geriatrician, physiotherapist, physiatrist, doctor and nurse who will provide curative, preventative and rehabilitative nursing.

Once the centre receives a request for a home visit, a team is sent to the patient's home to make an assessment and a care programme is created. Ten doctors and 13 nurses from primary health centres affiliated with the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) have been trained in geriatric health care.

A pilot version of the project was launched in November at Al Safa and Al Khawaneej primary health centres for the elderly, with the official launch of the programme at the Nad Al Hamar health centre this month.

The project will be expanded to the DHA's remaining 11 primary health centres over the next three months.

Officials said such programmes were necessary because the elderly population was expected to grow over the coming years.

In 2010, 5 per cent of the Emirati population in Dubai was 60 or older - a figure expected to rise to 6.8 per cent by 2015 and 11 per cent by 2025.

"This will greatly reduce the need for the elderly population to visit hospitals, ensuring that their convenience is taken into consideration," said Dr Ahmed Kalban, the chief executive of the primary healthcare sector at the DHA.