Hamad Medical Corporation's (HMC's) Oncology and Lymphedema Physiotherapy Department's work to protect vulnerable during Covid-19 has been featured in a prestigious international medical journal.
The article, "Physiotherapy Management Response for Lymphedema patients amid Covid-19 Pandemic in the State of Qatar: A Perspective Study" has been accepted for publication by the Rehabilitation Oncology Journal, the official quarterly publication of the Academy of Oncologic Physical Therapy of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).
During Covid-19 many of HMC's usually face-to-face services were converted to telemedicine, phone and online consultations, to ensure patients had access to the care they needed. The Oncology and Lymphedema Outpatient Physiotherapy Department located at HMC's Qatar Rehabilitation Institute (QRI) had to quickly pivot and develop strategies for their patients.
Lymphedema refers to swelling that generally occurs in one of your arms or legs. Sometimes both arms or both legs swell. Lymphedema is most commonly caused by the removal of or damage to your lymph nodes as a part of cancer treatment.
"During Covid-19 we needed to work within Qatar's own restrictions as well as international guidelines for infection prevention and control of spread of Covid-19 and also to maintain the continuity of care for patients with cancer, who are uniquely vulnerable because of their susceptibility to infections as a consequence of systemic immunosuppression and chemotherapy, or during recovery from recent surgery," Chief of Physiotherapy at HMC and one of the authors of the study Dr. Noora Al Mudahka said.
Dr. Al Mudakha said the experiences of the team delivering care during Covid-19 and the findings of the study revolutionize the way that clinical care is delivered to patients with lymphedema during the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Our experience suggests that a hybrid system of face to face and tele/virtual consultations may provide an opportunity to improve accessibility to lymphedema care and reduce waiting time and may thereby become a sustainable model of care even after the pandemic," Dr. Al Mudakha said.
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