Staffs at Qatar Rehabilitation Institute (QRI), part of Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), are promoting the importance of an active lifestyle among both members of the general public and patients who are recovering from spinal cord injuries through its ‘back on track’ initiative.
The initiative aims to highlight the significance of physical activity, good posture, proper body mechanics, and healthy working conditions for a healthy spine. The ‘back on track’ initiative was launched to support patients who have suffered a spinal cord injury and was initiated with the opening of HMC's QRI in 2017. Every month, between five and eight new patients, comprising both male and female over the age of 14 years old are enrolled in the programme. QRI receives patients referred from inpatient and outpatient departments across HMC.
“The ‘back on track’ programme aims to promote an active lifestyle and encourages everyone, not only our patients, to get back on track while focusing on effective spine care,” says Dr Hanadi al-Hamad, medical director, QRI. Dr al-Hamad, who is also Qatar’s National Health Strategy Lead for Healthy Ageing and medical director of Rumailah Hospital, says spinal cord injuries are one of the top five medical diagnoses requiring admission to QRI.
“Around 25% of these cases are non-traumatic and occur as a result of poor spine care. Spinal cord injury and the resultant paralysis has devastating physical, mental, social, and vocational consequences on the injured person. In addition, spinal cord injury increases the economic burden on the affected person and potentially his or her entire support network,” said Dr al-Hamad.
Dr al-Hamad explains that rehabilitation aims to increase a patient’s functional autonomy, maximising participation in his or her social setting, and minimising the pain and distress they and their caregivers may experience. “Among our patients, we promote restoration of the loss of physiological or psychological function and our rehab team ensures their community reintegration through a tailored programme that supports each patient in becoming a productive member of society,” noted Dr al-Hamad.
QRI’s spinal cord injury multidisciplinary team lead, Dr Sarafudheen Villan, says QRI’s comprehensive patient-centric rehabilitation programme aims to improve the physical, functional, and psychological capabilities of patients after sustaining an often-disabling spinal cord injury. “A comprehensive rehabilitation team comprising physiotherapists, occupational therapists, rehabilitation nurses, speech therapists, rehabilitation physicians, prosthetic and orthostatic specialists, and dietitians, as well as other specialists including a social worker, case manager, and rehab coordinator, help patient to get back on track,” says Dr Villan.
“At QRI, we treat traumatic and non-traumatic spinal cord injuries. We advise patients to follow the prescribed safety measures, remain active, do regular exercises, avoid sitting for long periods, to stand and walk every 30 to 45 minutes, to avoid lifting heavy objects by themselves, and to use proper lifting techniques,” added Dr Villan.
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