The Geriatric-Dermatology (GeriDerm) clinic at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has expanded its patient care services by adding face-to-face consultations to virtual sessions for older patients with skin diseases.
From January 2021, all new referrals to the clinic will be seen by an interdisciplinary team of dermatologists and geriatricians in a specialised HMC facility for the patient’s first appointment.
The ‘GeriDerm’ clinic was first launched in June 2020 as a virtual clinic providing specialised telemedicine-based care to cover the medical needs of older patients with dermatological problems.
The provision of virtual and telephone consultations was initiated when the challenges of access to care due to the Covid-19 pandemic became more apparent.
Dr. Hanadi Al Hamad
The GeriDerm clinic had 329 virtual encounters with older patients from June-December 2020 with approximately 40 patients being seen in the clinic where face-to-face consultation was deemed essential.
Resuming face-to-face is in accordance with clinical guidelines and new patients are now receiving appointments to be seen by clinical experts in the Dermatology and Venereology Department or the Elderly Day Care Unit in Rumailah Hospital as well as continue their ongoing care online.
Prof Martin Steinhoff
Follow-up appointments will be arranged as either in-person or virtual consultation, depending on clinical need and patient preference.
The development of the ‘GeriDerm’ clinic was led by Dr Sarah al-Khawaga from HMC’s Dermatology and Venereology Department, in close collaboration with Dr Wasim Akram, geriatric consultant at Rumailah Hospital, with the support and guidance of Prof Steinhoff, chairman, of the Dermatology Department and director of the Dermatology Institute at HMC, and Dr Hanadi al-Hamad, national lead for Healthy Ageing in Qatar and Medical Director of Rumailah Hospital and Qatar Rehabilitation Institute.
Dr al-Khawaga explained, “Skin disorders are more common in older adults, because the skin becomes dryer, less elastic and thinner with advancing age, which can make it more susceptible to disease. The most common skin diseases among older people include eczema, skin infections, and pruritus (severely dry and itchy skin). People with underlying health conditions, such as diabetes, or those who take multiple medications, can also experience increased skin problems.”
“The goal for the GeriDerm clinic is to promote early detection of dermatological conditions, especially in high-risk patients aged 65 years and above.
"This clinic addresses one of the most vulnerable population groups during the current Covid-19 pandemic through the provision of clear pathways for proper triaging, referrals, and minimal exposure to infection,” said Dr Akram.
Patients aged 65 and older can be referred through their primary health centre, or if they are seeing another HMC doctor who recommends an expert consultation.
To help triage patients for urgent and non-urgent appointment bookings, the assigned dermatologist performs a GeriDerm risk assessment using an international best practice tool and triaging process.
Urgent referrals, especially for suspected skin melanomas, aim to refer patient within 24 to 48 hours.
The GeriDerm clinic is currently held from 7am to 3 pm every Tuesday.
The virtual and direct clinics are managed by multidisciplinary dermatologists and geriatricians, along with experienced nurses and allied health professionals, to provide the best possible service.Last updated: January 18 2021 09:31 PM
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