Hamad Medical Corporation's (HMC) Home Healthcare Service (HHS) has started administering the Covid-19 vaccine to its registered housebound patients to protect them against the disease. The vaccination outreach campaign, which received endorsement from the Ministry of Public Health, targets not only adult home healthcare patients but also other adults living in the same household, provided they fit the medical criteria for eligibility.
Mahmoud al-Raisi, Chief of the Continuing Care Group at HMC, praised the teams involved in arranging this campaign in record time following the ministry's approval: "The Covid-19 vaccination outreach campaign is an important step in expanding the vaccination capacity in Qatar. And by vaccinating our patients along with other adult household members, we are enhancing their protection."
Dr Hanadi al-Hamad, National Lead for Healthy Ageing and Chairperson for the Department of Geriatrics and Long-Term Care, explained the campaign was the result of extensive feedback with patients and families. "The feedback we have received especially from our older patients was that they were hesitant to go out of their home to get vaccinated and that they would feel more confident if they could be vaccinated along with other family members," she said.
"As a large portion of our home healthcare patients are older, which is exactly the population group who are among the most vulnerable from Covid-19, we wanted to establish a solution that will provide them with added protection. It was therefore very important to extend the eligibility criteria for this campaign to include both family and other household members who closely interact with our patients," added Dr al-Hamad.
HMC's Home Healthcare Service, which is part of HMC's Continuing Care Group, has around 2,500 home bound patients registered as service users, nearly 75% of which are people aged 60 and above. About 300 patients are children, who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated with the currently available vaccines; therefore around 2,000 home-bound patients overall are being considered for the vaccine.
Nadya al-Anzi, Executive Director of Nursing for HMC's Private Nursing Services and Home Healthcare Services, has expanded her role during the Covid-19 pandemic to include Community Nursing Lead for Covid-19 Quarantine, Non-Quarantine and Isolation Facilities, which has given here a strategic overview of administering care in the community.
"Our service covers the whole country, which we have divided into four districts, each being cared for by a highly competent and dedicated team of nurses and patient care assistants, with support from physician colleagues," said al-Anzi.
"These teams know the patient population and have built up strong relationships with them and their families, in some cases the relationships have been established over many years. This is essential to building trust, which in turn is essential to patients feeling confident that our teams will provide them with safe and effective care," she said.
The campaign started in district one which includes Al Wakra, Wukair, Al Hilal, Matar Qadeem, and Mamoura.
The vaccination strategy is for several teams to remain in a designated district to vaccinate as many patients and their households as possible, before moving on to the next district.
Deputy National Lead of Healthy Ageing and Medical Director of the Home Healthcare Services, Dr
Essa al-Sulaiti, explained that staff training was a priority for this project."While our staff are well trained, we wanted to ensure that the teams going out to patient homes have had the additional training in administering the Covid-19 vaccines. Patients and other adults in the same household will be screened by the clinical team to ensure they meet the eligibility criteria."
"We operate in accordance with strict guidelines for the vaccines we use for home healthcare patients. This effort has been a collaboration between different groups to ensure a smooth transition across the whole pathway, which includes identifying eligible families in the community and getting their agreement, then collecting the vaccine and ensuring it is administered and documented appropriately," added Dr al-Sulaiti.
Each clinical team involved in the vaccination campaign includes four healthcare professionals, including two specialist nurses, a patient care assistant, and a physician. Patients registered with Home Healthcare Service can call the newly established Hamad Home Healthcare Call Center on 4439 0111 for help and advice on home healthcare needs as well as the Covid-19 vaccination.