Although elderly patients have been the most common cases, doctors are also seeing a growing number of young patients in need of home treatments, including newborns and toddlers.
Dr Amer Alata from Aster Grace told Khaleej Times that “age is nothing but a number” when it comes to health. “Right now, we have a variety of patients (of) different ages who require different medical attention. For instance, we have a patient who is only a couple of years old and we have one in his 90s.”
Dr Alata shared a special case of an infant who was born prematurely and is currently seeking treatment. “The baby requires physical therapy and needs to be fed through a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy, also referred to as a PEG tube.”
Due to the baby’s late development, he is unable to eat properly. “We feed him and give him the right medications at home. With time, we want to have the tube out so he is able to eat normally.” Dr Alata highlighted that elderly citizens often have diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, arthritis and chronic pain, and thus require in-home care.
Care of the elderly often poses difficulties and challenges to family members, especially if accidents occur or there is a specific medical condition that affects seniors. Having a professional healthcare provider at home helps ease their worries.
Alisha Moopen, director of Aster DM Healthcare, believes that the elderly often don’t get the attention they require.
“There are patients who need care beyond the hospital doors, but are unfortunate to not have enough support at home to provide medical attention or help. Taking care of a sick loved one can be hard in the home without specialist support, assisting the patients’ family.”
Even infants and minors suffering from rare illnesses also require help at home. ‘Significant results’
The mother of a premature baby spoke to Khaleej Times about the home treatment her child is receiving. The Emirati mother said she is pleased to see “significant results” even though they are just two months into the treatment.
“We started treatment towards the end of September. The medical team came and assessed my son and have been working closely with us ever since,” she said. The baby, who was born with heart and lung problems, must be fed through a tube on a daily basis.
She noted that nurses from the centre provide her boy with food and medicines, and her with peace of mind. “It will take some time, but I know my boy will be okay.”
Better healthcare facilities Recent reports from the Ministry of Health noted that life expectancy has increased from 52.2 years in 1960 to 76.8 years in 2011. This dramatic improvement is due to better healthcare infrastructure and rising income.The latest data from the ministry showed 5.2 per cent of the Emirati population is above the age of 60 years. According to reports, the ministry expects this to rise to 11 per cent by 2032 and 19 per cent by 2050.