Department of Oncology - Tawam Hospital, Al Ain

UAE Awards

Hamdan Award for an Outstanding Clinical Department in the Public Sector in UAE
2011-2012
History and Services
 
Affiliated with Johns Hopkins Medicine, USA, and operated by Abu Dhabi-based Abu Dhabi Health Services (SEHA), Tawam Hospital has been providing healthcare services to the residents of Al Ain and referral services for the Emirates and the GCC States for the past 30 years. In addition to ambulatory and dental services, the hospital provides a wide spectrum of services including Emergency, Critical Care, Medical, Surgical, Oncology, Maternal and Child Health services.
 
A number of these Units are regarded as being particularly meritorious in view of their unique contributions to patient care in the UAE. These include the renowned Oncology Unit.
 
The Department of Oncology at Tawam Hospital has been the major provider of cancer care in the UAE for more than three decades. It is the only clinical Department in the UAE that provides the whole spectrum of services, including Oncology, Hematology,Radiotherapy and Palliative Care.
 
Infrastructure
 
A ‘state of the art’ 20 bed Intensive Care Unit accommodates patients needing a high level of care during chemo/radiation therapy and monitoring, and there is a specific paediatric Critical Care Unit for children with malignant disease. Interventions include all aspects of subspecialty; medical and surgical subspecialty practice as well as the Nutritional support service and Psychiatry. The pharmacy houses a clean room for preparation of cancer medications which is dedicated for the Cancer Center.
 
In-patient facilities include 46 individualized beds in 46 rooms; 21 of these are fitted with HEPA-filters and two with negative pressure. In-patient areas have counselling and consulting rooms. The Palliative Care Division is the first and only hospital based service of its kind in the UAE.
 
A new Oncology Clinic opened in 2009 with 28 ‘state of the art’ chemotherapy chairs, four beds for partially non ambulatory patients, two consulting rooms, etc
 
Tawam provides temporary free accommodation for oncology patients and their families who live far away from Al Ain and need medical treatment on a daily basis. The Guest Apartments compromise 32 suites. This residential accommodation is provided on campus which can be used by patients or relatives during the duration of the treatment.
 
For patients in need there is coordination with the Government for financial support or payment of all costs for oncology patients not covered by insurance, transportation costs, meals during outpatient visits and telephone cards for inpatients who are far from the families. Pastoral services (e.g. Islamic, Christian, Hindu and Sikh) are available as needed.
 
The Oncology Department has strong relationships with the Sheikh Zayed Al Rahmah Cancer Society, the Zayed Foundation, the Red Crescent and the Friends of Cancer who work closely with Tawam Social Workers for patient support. The Quality Program of the Department of Oncology emphasizes performance measures which are reviewed regularly. Monitoring patient satisfaction is a key performance indicator.
 
Clinical Facility
 
The Oncology department at Tawam Hospital has made available a wide range of patient centered services. The Oncology team is able to rely upon extensive clinical and infrastructure support which combine to facilitate comprehensive care ranging from screening to diagnosis, to therapy through both medical and surgical interventions. Resources comprise imaging, screening and diagnostic services, including cancer risk assessment and genetic
testing. Mobile tomotherapy, the first in the Middle East and second worldwide, helps to reduce radiation dosage after careful therapy planning.
 
Interventional radiology, three Tesla MRIs commissioned in 2011, both mobile and fixed mammography, as well as a new purpose built ‘state of the art’ PET-CT facility are heavily utilized on the Tawam campus. These imaging modalities enable tomotherapy for optimized dose escalation to the tumour and minimal dose to healthy organs and tissues.
 
A regional Blood Bank was designed to accommodate apheresis, HLA laboratories and cryopreservation, etc. The hospital based and National Cancer Registry at Tawam is a resource for clinicians and government authorities. Treatment regimens are determined by organizations such as the United States National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), the leading network in the world. Many services provided are unique to Tawam and these include targeted therapies with monoclonal antibodies, regional chemotherapy, intrahepatic chemoembolization, radiofrequency ablation, immunotherapy, immune modulating therapy, radioimunotherapy, plasma exchange, blood exchange and leukopheresis.
 
The Team
 
The Oncology Department is staffed by 10 Consultants, one Specialist and seven General Practitioners, one Assistant Nursing Director, four Nurse Managers, one Oncology Administrator, three Clinical Resources Nurses, six Charge Nurses, nine A/Charge Nurses, 27 Staff Nurses, seven Practical Nurses, three Ward Clerks, two Oncology Research Staff and two Administrative Support Staff.
 
Outpatient attendance in the Department increased by 18% in the year 2010-11, totaling 18,969 in 2011. Only 20% of patients are from Al Ain, 80% being from Abu Dhabi and other Emirates. Patients are then followed at Tawam for life. In order to avoid unnecessary travel the Palliative Care institution is encouraging other hospitals to form palliative care groups. Physicians and nurses from other hospitals are given privileges to visit Tawam and observe practices of ‘end of life’ care. Tawam Palliative Care Team also visits other hospitals to give presentations and guidance. The aim is to develop regional home care programs in different Emirates.The Oncology team works closely with Tawam Psychological Support Services to offer weekly occupational therapy sessions, patients’ counselling and awareness activities, sharing in multidisciplinary rounds and the volunteer program.
 
The Department also has plans to award funds to social services for patients and family support, educational activities of younger clinicians and community educators, and cancer research.
 
The Oncology Department has been a Winner of the Arab Health Awards in 2010 in the Imaging and Diagnostic Category, and had also been shortlisted for the Patient Centered Care category of the Award in the same year.  In 2012, the Department had been shortlisted for the Arab Health Award for its use of tomotherapy.
 
Research and CME
 
In 2011, Tawam oncologists were involved in eight clinical trials as Principal or Co-investigators at the regional and international level. On an annual basis, more than 30 abstracts and publications are accepted in national and international forums. More than 40 presentations were given in 2011 by oncology physicians as speakers at local, regional and international conferences in the fields of Haematology, Medical Oncology, and Palliative Care.
 
In the Unit, national staff members are currently being mentored with training for assisted and encouraged in research activity. Standards of care are facilitated by the conduct of several multidisciplinary clinics/meetings involving Pathology/Cytology, Radiology, Medical Genetics/
Counseling and Medical Oncology.
 
The Department of Oncology at Al Tawam Hospital, backed by a state-of-the-art infrastructure and highly-professional staff and efficient systems that facilitates meeting or exceeding the international standards, has been providing a whole spectrum of services to the residents of the UAE and neighboring countries and has raised the status of the country in the medical world.
 
Its contributions to the healthcare services and medical education are commendable and are being recognized through the Hamdan Award for Outstanding Clinical Department in the Public Sector in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

 

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