RAK Hospital Launches Free COVID-19 Rehabilitation Programme

  • RAK Hospital is first hospital in the UAE to offer such a CSR initiative
  • First-of-its-kind initiative by a UAE-based multispecialty hospital
  • Unique initiative open to any UAE resident recovered from COVID-19
  • Customised programme syncs with UAE’s efforts to mitigate COVID-19 effects
  • WHO endorses rehabilitation for ex-COVID-19 patients

August 3, 2020;Ras Al Khaimah, UAE: RAK Hospital, the multispecialty hospital located in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, has launched the first-of-its-kind free of cost COVID-19 Rehabilitation Programme in the UAE.

The exclusive wellness programme – conceptualised, developed and now offered by RAK Hospital- encompasses physical, cognitive, dietary and psychological support, and is aimed at UAE residents who were infected by the COVID -19 virus and have since recovered.

In particular, the novel initiative assists COVID-19 patients, irrespective of age, physical state, etc., to recover their physical and mental health, both of which may have been compromised due to the infection, resulting in poor quality of life.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), COVID-19 rehabilitation improves the health prospects of COVID-19 patients,through optimising health and functioning outcomes, facilitating early discharge, and reducing the risk of readmission.

Why a COVID-19 Rehabilitation Programme?

In its assessment of COVID-19, the WHO notes that in severe cases, COVID-19 leaves sufferers weak and dependent on walking aids and the assistance of others to complete basic tasks, such as washing, dressing and walking. These patients, many of whom have spent weeks in an ICU, require intensive rehabilitation to return to their previous activities and to reduce potential long-term disability.

Even once home, people recovering from COVID-19 can suffer from extreme weakness, tiredness and breathlessness, and experience issues with mood, attention and memory that require further rehabilitation.Timely rehabilitation also addresses post-intensive care syndrome (PICS), a constellation of emotional, cognitive, and physical symptoms that limit patients’ functioning.

Explaining the rationale behind the launch of the COVID-19 Rehabilitation Programme, Dr Raza Siddiqui, Executive Director of RAK Hospital, said: “In keeping with the avowed mission of the UAE Government on tackling COVID-19 and as a tactical CSR initiative of RAK Hospital, we decided to launch the COVID-19 Rehabilitation Programme entirely free-of-cost for those UAE residents who have recovered from the infection, to enable them to return to enjoying normal life with their families.”

He confirmed the RAK Hospital programme addresses common residual COVID-19 symptoms, specifically breathlessness, starting exercise, getting back to functional activities, mental health and post intubation symptoms such as voice weakness, eating, drinking and attention and memory deficits.

Dr Siddiqui also added that as RAK Hospital is a well-established multispecialty entity, the hospital is able to combine and offer several disciplines – physician, nutrition, psychology, and physical therapy – in the exclusive programme, especially as COVID-19 is a multisystem disease.

Outlining the key benefits of availing of the holistic programme, Dr. Siddiqui noted that apart from it being entirely free of monetary cost, the programme importantly offers people affected by COVID-19 the unique opportunity to regain their physical and mental strength, while also learning how to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Holistic approach to patient care

RAK Hospital’s COVID-19 Rehabilitation Programme comprises physician consultation, diet consultation, psychological support, and physical therapy.

After an antibodies test for COVID-19 is conducted on an individual’s first visit to RAK Hospital in Ras Al Khaimah, a consultation session is conducted with a physician who is specialised in managing COVID -19. This step determine a person’s current status of recovery from COVID-19 via a general physical examination, medical history-taking, PFT test to determine lung capacity,and any further investigations.

Also included is a diet consultation with a certified nutritionist, which includes BMI (Body Mass Index) test, post COVID-19 customised diet counselling, and provision of immunity booster recipes.

The programme also includes psychological support, provided by a certified psychologist, and which includes psychological assessment, counselling sessions, and mind relaxation techniques.

Physical complications after COVID-19 can persist for months or even years, and include impairments in muscle strength, heart and lung capacity, pain, balance, endurance, and walking ability leading to a loss of function and independence.

The programme helps participants cope with the physical and emotional challenges that can occur from the virus and get them back to the life they knew. As part of the programme, physical therapy is provided by a certified physiotherapist and comprises physical fitness assessment, breathing exercises, and physical training sessions.

Eligible UAE residents seeking to avail of the COVID-19 Rehabilitation Programme may contact the RAK Hospital call centre on 07 207 4444 to register. Emirates ID and COVID-19 discharge papers are required.

The first 20 individuals to register will form the first batch and will begin the programme from August 15, 2020, for a period of two weeks. Thereafter, every 15 days there will be new batches. On case by case basis, patients will be eligible either for customised individual sessions or group sessions.

Beginning rehabilitation as early as possible is crucial for the successful recovery process of a COVID-19 patient, according to the UK’s NHS, as a rehabilitation programme aids in recovery, independence and ultimately, quality of life.