Doha, – A holistic occupational therapy program, comprising arts and crafts, communication, socialization and confidence building skills as part of the treatment pathway for patients being treated for mental illness at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is proving to be a great success.

“Our focus is improving the quality of life of our patients through occupational therapy because due to long-time psychiatry illness, they lost their basic working and daily life skills and are unable to take care of themselves. Many are also unable to socialize because of the stigma associated with mental illness in the community,” said Chief of Occupational Therapy, Sultan Salim Al-Abdulla.

Al-Abdulla said: “As occupational therapists, our main aim is to help patients reacquire these skills in order to improve their quality of life. This is perfectly in line with HMC’s ongoing efforts to ensure patient safety and improve our patients’ quality of life through the care we provide.

This special effort has earned us an award of merit at last year’s HMC Stars of Excellence Awards and we are so proud of this achievement.” “Every day, we hold different sessions for patients such as how they can improve concentration while carrying out a task. We teach them social skills, communication skills and coping mechanisms as well as stress management. We also assess them daily to check the success of our treatment goals. Once a goal is achieved we move on to the next,” said Occupational Therapy Specialist, Ashok Bhagat, who has been assisting mental health patients to cope with their illness for over a decade.

Art therapy is used to help patients improve their concentration or boost their interest levels while engaging in a task. “To increase their attention span, we encourage patients to actively participate in arts and crafts. By creating some pieces of art by themselves, patients have a sense of confidence that they can do something on their own,” he said. Bhagat said the majority of their patients are experiencing depression or an anxiety disorder, often triggered by a change of environment or stress. “We have three male acute units comprised of a total of 45 patients. There are 20 females in our female acute unit. In addition, we offer day care services separately for males and females, including adult outreach and home care programs covered by eight occupational therapists. Once a patient is admitted, we concentrate on providing customized treatments according to each patient’s needs and based on the results of their evaluation, which tells us their degree of mental illness and the skills in which they are lacking,” he added.

Bhagat stressed that to create a sense of self-motivation in discharged patients, occupational therapists encourage them to continue their therapeutic learning in a specially designed day care program.

“During the day care program, we focus more on art therapy to equip patients with some arts and crafts skills that they can make use of as a future career.

They also learn new skills so they are able to take up a job, go back to school or be self-employed,” he noted. Individuals who require mental health care at HMC can access the service by getting a referral from their primary healthcare clinic or a physician in the private sector.(QNA)

Source: Qatar News Agency