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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 September 2018

Patient summit: speak of 'life changing' approach to long term care

Being treated as a person rather than patient can transform mental health of those hospitalised  

Dystrophy Patient Maryam Al Ali. Photo Courtesy: Amana Healthcare
Dystrophy Patient Maryam Al Ali. Photo Courtesy: Amana Healthcare

Patients have spoken publicly about the quality of care they have received at the first summit to help improve the experience in regional hospitals.

Muscular Dystrophy patient Maryam Al Ali, 53, first suffered from symptoms of the debilitating disease when she was 15.

Muscle weakness as a teenager led to regular falls, eventually confining her to a wheelchair when she was 25.

Ms Al Ali’s disease progressively worsened, but she continued her schooling, training to become a teacher in Arabic, math and science.

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Patient Experience Summit: 'life changing' approach to long term care

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She hopes to inspire others to stay positive when life is at its most difficult.

“I did not allow my diagnosis to change my life,” said Ms Al Ali.

“Nobody wants to be in hospital, and the years I spent in the intensive care unit were difficult and lonely, but I believe that this was God’s will for me.”

Ms Ali transferred to Amana Healthcare to receive long term care, where she has been able to lead an active and fulfilling life.

“The biggest healthcare development for me has been the increased awareness and focus on long-term care facilities in the UAE,” she said.

“When I became ill, my only option was to go into the ICU in acute care hospitals. Now there are facilities whose focus is on quality of life for patients with long-term chronic conditions such as mine.”

The first GCC Patient Experience Summit in Abu Dhabi aims to explore the latest ideas and new learning opportunities in the healthcare sector, by sharing testimonies of those receiving care.

The summit discussed the increasing role of technology in improving clinical care and efficiency of hospitals toward patients.

Since moving to Amana Healthcare in Abu Dhabi, Ms Al Ali has forged a strong relationship with staff, whom she said are positive and encouraging, treating her as a person, rather than a patient.

The approach has helped her keep a positive outlook on life.

“My goal is to motivate as many other people as I can who are in a similar situation as me to show them that their disease does not have to stop them from living a happy life,” she said.

“Although I am very shy by nature, the more I interact with and meet new people, the more confident I am.

“The feeling of helping others see the positive in their lives brings me so much happiness and positivity to mine.”

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