It is gratifying to see Elham and her team at FSRI are not only focussing on recovery and rehabilitation - they also have an eye on prevention of injury and education towards a greater awareness of preventative care.
But what sort of rehabilitation clinic spends so much of its time on prevention rather than its core business of rehabilitation? A farsighted one - this is clearly the case at FSRI.
At the core of FSRI is physiotherapy. From here spread out the different divisions of physiotherapy of which orthopaedics account for around 80% of their clients.
“Most of our clients come here with back pain, neck pain or other joint pain”, Dr. Elham says. The ‘bread-and-butter’ of most rehab clinics are patients with musculoskeletal complaints.
FRSI also has neurology rehab specialists working with stroke patients, and with pediatrics for children. The team of internationally trained and qualified specialists also includes specialists in cardio-pulmonary conditions for people recovering or at risk of heart attacks.
Occupational therapy, speech pathology, massage therapy, physical trainers, a nutritional consultant, a psychologist and a sports therapist complete the team of medical professionals at the Fawzia Sultan Rehabilitation Institute.
By any standards, this is a broad range of therapies. As Dr. Elham explained the institute is set up this way for a very clear reason; “We have established FSRI to match some of the very highest international standards”. She explained, “when we look at FSRI we want to see ourselves compared not only to regional clinics, but more importantly to the best international clinics in our field - we’re not simply a rehab clinic, we look at the Rehab Institute of Chicago and the Toronto Rehab Institute - that’s where we aim, that’s our goal”.
Fawzia Sultan Rehabilitation Institute is growing to become a center of excellence for training, education and research - whilst combining this with clinical care.
These days administration and the running of FRSI typically keep Dr. Elham out of the consulting room, although her role as Medical Director sees skills as a manager and coordinator highly prized.
After three years in Hawally FRSI moved to its current location in Salmiya one year ago. Today there is a growing demand for rehabilitative care that involves the patient. In the past, and many of us have possibly experienced this ourselves, a patient would attend a doctor and having explained the symptoms been prescribed pills or a shot. There would often be little consideration for a probable underlying cause of the pain.
FRSI’s approach in such cases is to look at the whole patient. And the patient shares a responsibility with their therapist during the process.
“A patient at FRSI is involved in our functional approach, rather than with a more typical doctor’s surgery where the patient has a merely passive approach”.
“A patient is fully involved in the diagnosis and we work with them to ensure that they are fully aware of the correct use of any physical exercise that will aid recovery, as well as other things they can do to speed recovery”, Dr. Elham explained.
They don’t simply offer a treatment to eliminate the pain; they offer a full program to remove the cause of the pain. There’s a significant difference there, and it is one well worth noting. This approach offers lasting benefits, not a simple quick-fix. They are not unique in this - for this is the basis of truly professional physical therapy.
Of course, were we all to take rather better care of ourselves there might be slightly less need for the likes of FRSI. And all at the Institute see it as their responsibility to educate patients and the public towards better care of themselves and their bodies.
“I think people underestimate the importance of exercise and weight loss”, she says. It is a fact that many people suffering from adult-onset diabetes could affect a recovery were they to adjust their diet and include exercise in their daily routine.
“There’s no doubt that were some people to lose weight and exercise there would be no need for them to continue with their medication”. The same thing goes for those suffering from high blood pressure.
Kuwait is not unique in this lack of understanding. The West’s most developed countries actually have some of the highest incidences of diabetes and high blood pressure - but even here there is a deficiency of knowledge, or perhaps a lack of personal care, which facilitates the growth of such diseases.
Through her two-pronged initiative towards both recovery and education, Dr. Elham Al Hamdan has placed the Fawzia Sultan Rehabilitation Institute at the forefront of progressive and functional healthcare in Kuwait and across the region.
To find out more visit www.rehabinstitutekuwait.com
First Published in Men's Passion Issue #26 November 2010