Around six families of some of the patients, who are not able to obtain proper nutrition orally, are currently benefiting from the Home Total Parenteral Nutrition Service for patients introduced recently at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC).
“We are very grateful for the services HMC is providing our daughter. We are very happy with this new home service; it has changed our life as a family,” said Mrs. Hind Mahmoud, mother of three-year-old Kenzi Nader, who has been using the service for almost two years now.
The service was created specifically for patients with intestinal function failure; irregular or failed intestine function can lead to mal-absorption of vital fluids and nutrients. It is often caused by a congenital disease of the bowel or surgical sectioning of a significant length of the bowel, leading to a condition called short bowel syndrome. As a consequence, nutrients must be administered directly into the vein through the placement of a special intravenous catheter. This form of nutrition is called Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN).
Dr. Kamal Osman Hassan, Pediatric Gastroenterology Senior Consultant and Head of the Pediatric Gastroenterology section at Hamad General Hospital (HGH), explained that prior to the new homecare service, patients requiring parenteral nutrition had previously been required to spend a significant amount of their time at the hospital.
“With the Home Total Parental Nutrition Service, our patients can now stay at home with their families and enjoy the life that other children have. They can go to school, shopping, outdoor parks and travel with their families; things that were very difficult before,” said Dr. Hassan.
Mrs. Mahmoud agreed with Dr. Hassan on the difficulty of having her daughter in the hospital. Kenzi was admitted to the hospital shortly after birth due to birth defects in the intestine which prevented her from absorbing vital nutrients. She spent one year in the hospital before being introduced to the homecare service.
“During this period it was also very hard for us to stay with her all the time because of our commitments with work and our other children. We are much relieved with the home service,” said Mrs. Mahmoud.
Both doctors and patients’ families admitted that the long stay in hospital required to administer the parenteral nutrition adversely affected the quality of life for patients and their families.
“Children who came for intravenous nutrition at an early stage in their lives showed very slow development compared to other children of their age,” stated Dr. Hassan.
Mrs. Mahmoud recalled: “During the year Kenzi spent in hospital, her development was very slow; she wasn’t even able to crawl. But after transferring to the home service, she was able to walk in three months only; we were very happy and surprised with the massive change.”
Prior to transitioning to the Home Parental Nutrition program, parents are provided with training explaining how to administer and connect the parenteral nutrition bag to the intravenous catheter and how to clean it. Nurses from HMC’s home healthcare service visit the patients in their homes regularly (usually once per week), to perform checkups and provide any additional medical assistance. HMC also provides patients with all required equipment for the Home Parental Nutrition program.
Mrs. Mahmoud added, “We are all happy that we can now spend more time with our daughter. HMC doctors and nurses have been very helpful and responded to all of our needs, answering our phone calls even after their working hours. I’m really grateful for that.”
Dr. Hassan also explained that the benefits of the program go beyond the patients enrolled in the service. As part of HMC’s long-term vision of transforming into a more integrated system, with a stronger focus on preventative and community-based healthcare, the service is allowing the Corporation to better meet the public demand on healthcare.
“Not only does this new system provide patients and their families with a greater opportunity to live their lives like any other family and to establish a better environment for their child to grow, it also allows us to provide beds to other patients that were once occupied for years by patients needing parenteral nutrition,” noted Dr. Hassan.