A study by the World Innovation Summit for Health found that most elderly people and caretakers in Qatar did not know what palliative health means.
A new study by the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) has revealed that 96% of patients requiring palliative care in Qatar, and 91% of their caregivers, are unaware of the meaning of the term palliative care and what it entails.
Palliative care is a relatively new medical caregiving approach that aims to improve quality of life and mitigate pain and suffering for those with serious and complex illnesses.
The national WISH research, the first of its kind in Qatar, studied patients, family members who were caretakers, frontline healthcare workers and policymakers.
Those who participated in the study were at an average age of 70 and were from Rumailah hospital, part of Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), which offers six different types of care for the acutely ill.
Most of the patients suffer from non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. They shared that their healthcare decisions were influenced by their Islamic religion and Arabic culture.
WISH hosted a Qatar National Palliative Care Policy symposium to help evaluate the Gulf nation’s progress in developing its palliative care programme based on the World Health Organisation’s model.
The symposium was held in partnership with HMC, the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) and Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), a global organisation which supports people with dementia and their families.
The event ended with the signing of the Doha Declaration on Development of Palliative Care in Qatar between HMC, WISH and ADI.
The symposium examined current gaps in public understanding of palliative care and the best way forward for the expansion of healthcare services through increased collaborations among healthcare providers.
“The outcomes of this symposium and of this study will be used as a baseline to address additional work streams such as directory development, competence frameworks and communication materials.”, said Dr Salih al-Marri, assistant minister of Public Health for Health Affairs.
“Palliative care isn’t just about treating physical conditions; it’s a holistic approach to patient care and places great value on the psychological and spiritual support offered to our communities. Our goal is to develop and establish a culturally appropriate national palliative care programme for the older population in Qatar,” he added.
WISH also hosted a two-day intensive training programme that included reviewing different palliative care models, with a total of 100 healthcare professionals including nurses, physicians and allied health professionals in attendance.