Thought to be the first of its kind in the region, a motherâ€™s support group launched last March at Hamad Medical Corporationâ€™s (HMC) Rumailah Hospital is enabling the parents of children with long-term medical conditions to take a more active role in their childâ€™s care.
The initiative has provided a platform for the mothers of patients at the Al Maha Childrenâ€™s Unit 1 to have direct access to their childâ€™s care team and to receive support from other parents.
The Al Maha Childrenâ€™s Unit at Rumailah Hospital, known as Al Maha 1, was established in 2010 to provide specialised care for children who have complex, long-term health conditions. The unit cares for children aged three months to 14 years of age and the length of stay for each child admitted to the unit varies from months to years, depending on their diagnosis. Many of the patients cared for at the 26-bed long-term care facility have their breathing supported by a mechanical ventilator.
The motherâ€™s support group is the latest initiative by staff at the facility aimed at improving both patient care and experience. In 2016, the staff at Al Maha 1 implemented a successful programme designed to help long-term ventilated children live at home. That programme has seen a number of children who had been hospitalised, in some cases for many years, safely transitioned back into the community and visiting home frequently.
Mariam Nooh Al Mutawa, Executive Director of Nursing at Rumailah Hospital, said the motherâ€™s support group is unique to the Gulf region and aligns with HMCâ€™s vision of providing collaborative and supportive patient care. â€œThe support group was introduced as part of our commitment to promoting open communication between the parents of our patients and our nursing and medical staff. As part of the programme, the mothers, and other family members of new patients are given a comprehensive orientation which includes a tour of our facility and introductions to all staff. They are told about the support group and are encouraged to ask questions, voice concerns, and provide suggestions,â€ said Al Mutawa.
She said one of the reasons the support group has been so well received is because of the peer support it provides for families. She said it has become an important source of encouragement and knowledge.
â€œMany of the families of our patients take a very active role in their childâ€™s care. Caring for a child with complex care needs can be a very isolating and all-consuming experience and the support group has provided an important outlet by connecting the parents who may be dealing with many of the same challenges,â€ said Al Mutawa.
Lilykutty Joseph, Head Nurse at Al Maha 1, said that since the motherâ€™s support group was initiated, it has been expanded and now includes a WhatsApp group that connects parents, nursing staff, and medical teams.
She said it has become an effective way for care teams and parents to ask questions and share information about meetings, upcoming activities and events organised by the unit, such as celebrations for National Day, Motherâ€™s Day, and birthdays.
Source: The Peninsula Newspaper