Home healthcare expanded to paediatrics, palliative

Muscat, April 17 – The Ministry of Health (MoH) on Tuesday launched an awareness campaign on home healthcare offered by community health centres.
The objective of the campaign is to let the people know of the facility which has been in existence since 2004, but today the home healthcare has been expanded to include paediatrics and palliative care.
The ministry’s representatives gave a presentation on the home healthcare programme available for citizens who are unable to visit hospitals.
Jokha al Shaqsi, a community nurse at Muscat Health Centre, said she makes home visits for patients who cannot go to a health facility.
She covers the areas of Muscat, Yiti and Sifa.
Today, each of these areas has community nurses, but that was not the case when the programme first began.
Initially, community nurse Jokha was handling 40 patients. “The situation has changed now, because we educate and train patients and the family members to deliver healthcare. This has resulted in the number coming down to 10 patients for me to take care of.”
Through these visits, not only do patients learn about the programme, but also about the proper way to treat a patient and provide the right care even when they are not there. “Right now, whenever they need assistance, they come to the health centre and inform us. Immediately, we plan the visit.”
The pilot project was first tried in Al Amerat in 2004.
By 2005, it was approved.
In 2006, the service was expanded to Seeb and Muttrah followed by Bausher in 2007.
In 2011, Qurayat and Muscat were included.
According to Jokha, one of the major challenges is the weather and the temperature, especially in summer. “Some of the houses in Muscat are located in the mountainous areas and the climb can be tough. Some houses are remotely situated. When we began the programme, we did not have appropriate equipment, but thanks to the Ministry of Health we now have advanced dressing materials.
“It helps us in making home visits for dressing. Earlier, we had to dress the wounds daily but now we have the option of doing it on alternative days,” explained Jokha.
The main health issues faced by patients who require home healthcare are chronic diabetic hypertensive found among senior patients.
The community nurses also take care of young accident victims who are paralysed.
“Some of the patients have wounds due to pressure ulcers because they are lying on bed for a long time. Pressure ulcers require cleaning the wound regularly. We also teach the family members how to turn the patient every two hours to prevent development of ulcers in other areas.”
The message the health representatives want to convey to the community is that the facility of home healthcare service is available because there are instances where the family members are not able to bring their parents or others to the health facility.
“We are there to give care for their family. It is just not only about the patient as it is a family matter. Sometimes, the patients have problem then we coordinate with the Ministry of Social Affairs to evaluate the situation.”