The team of Physiotherapy Services at Hamad General Hospital (HGH) has provided over 58,000 physiotherapy sessions and cared over 4,000 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) patients in 2019, said Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) in a statement.
About 20 and 25 percent of patients cared for by the Physiotherapy Department at Hamad General Hospital classified as critical care patients.
Noora Al Mudahka, Chief of Physiotherapy, has said that it is a misconception that all seriously ill patients require bed rest. “Patients who are cared for by our Intensive Care Unit (ICU) are seriously ill or require specialized care. They require sophisticated monitoring equipment and round-the-clock care provided by a team of specially trained healthcare professions, and this team includes physical therapists,” said Al Mudahka.
“Research now shows that bed rest can have adverse effects on muscles and organs, which can impair neuropsychological functions and reduce movement capacity. Physical therapy can prevent functional impairments and improve the quality of life for patients after hospital discharge. There is a growing body of evidence to support programs of early mobilization within the ICU environment,” added Al Mudahka.
Eladel Ben Majid Bouguerra, Supervisor of Physiotherapy Services at Hamad General Hospital, said that physiotherapists who work with patients in the ICU have been specially trained to treat the most acutely ill and injured patients.
He said that a number of ICU patients have functional deficits one year after discharge, underscoring the importance of early and structured rehabilitation.
“We know that many ICU patients have limitations or impairments to their physical abilities or function one year after discharge and that extended periods of bed-rest, prolonged time on a ventilator, and around-the-clock sedation can have devastating effects on the human body. Immobility wreaks havoc on every functional system, from the musculoskeletal system to the nervous system, which underscores the importance of early intervention from trained physiotherapists,” said Bouguerra.
Dr. Ajimsha Mohammed Sharafudeen, a Physiotherapy Specialist at Hamad General Hospital says physiotherapists are an integral part of the multi-disciplinary team when caring for critically ill patients, adding that physiotherapy is an important intervention that can help mitigate many of the adverse effects of prolonged bed rest and mechanical ventilation. He says physical therapy has been proven to reduce the length of stay for ICU patients.