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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 June 2018

Abu Dhabi hospital to offer hope for patients needing acute long-term care

Facility will provide intensive rehabilitation for severe injuries 

Dr Mishal Al Kasimi, chief executive of Capital Health, which will open in Abu Dhabi next year. Pawan Singh / The National
Dr Mishal Al Kasimi, chief executive of Capital Health, which will open in Abu Dhabi next year. Pawan Singh / The National

UAE residents will soon be able to access long-term rehabilitation care at a new hospital in the capital.

People living with disabilities as a result of motor vehicle accidents, falls at work or strokes currently have to go to multi-disciplinary centres, private clinics or wards at government institutions, for rehabilitation care. Many chose to go abroad for more complete care.

Driven by that need, Capital Health is launching what will be the UAE’s first comprehensive rehabilitation hospital, building and designing it from scratch to fit that purpose. It will provide acute, sub-acute and long term rehabilitation with a capacity of 166 inpatient beds, and will serve outpatients as well.

“Many people are going overseas for acute and intense therapy… there are a lot of small centres that are scattered around the country, and there a few that do long-term care,” said Dr Mishal Al Kasimi, Chief Executive Officer of Capital Health which will be launching the Specialised Rehabilitation Hospital (SRH).

“A rehabilitation hospital... focuses predominantly on patients for rehab… which is lacking anywhere in the UAE and the region,” he said.

Dr Naveen Hood Ali, head of department at General Practitioners and in charge of emergency, said: “We have a couple of home care centres ... but I don’t know of any organised hospital set up in Abu Dhabi [for that purpose].”

Private hospitals are only allowed to provide initial treatment, and as they are not allowed to provide long-term rehabilitation, they lose track of the patients after they leave.

“If patients are expats, they go back to their country, or if nationals they could travel or go to special care centre, but I doubt these have trained nurses for palliative care. I feel it is a big gap with the health system here in the UAE,” he said.

The SRH, which will occupy eight floors and three basements, will include everything a rehab patient may need, such as: speech, physical and occupational therapy; five multi-disciplinary gymnasiums; physical medication doctors; and trainers.

Outlining their goals, Dr Al Kasimi said: “If the patient develops pneumonia or a chest infection we will treat it, if the patient needs urgent blood we can provide it in house, if the patient needs an MRI we will do it in house... so pretty much we don’t transfer anyone out of our facility.

"This makes it easier for our patients and their families and lifts a social and economic burden.”

The facilities include a floor dedicated to paediatric inpatient rehab, and others for brain and spinal surgery injuries, as well as musculoskeletal injuries.

“We also dedicated a floor for medical caused disabilities; for some patients the main reason for their disabilities is a really tough outcome from a medical condition,” he added.

This would include patients left with life-changing disabilities after suffering severe heart attacks.

SRH also has a home care component.

While the hospital aims to cater to everyone in the country, region and even visitors or tourists, priority will be given to nationals.

“Our goal and aim is that we want to serve everyone, and anyone… but we cater first to our local population because they are the ones who tend to go abroad for treatment, and this has huge socio-economic impact.”

The SRH is expected to open during the first quarter of 2018.