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Home Care in the Middle East, So Different and So Similar

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As documented on our Facebook and Twitter feeds in late January we had the privilege of visiting Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates to sign with and implement the most progressive agency in the region, Enayati.

While nursing is nursing the world over there are some distinct differences to how business is conducted in the Middle East versus North America and we wanted to share with you a taste of our adventure.

First and foremost while there is a high level of formality, more on that in a minute, it cannot be understated how warm an environment it is – not just the temperature outside which was set to perfect for the 7 days we were on the ground – but everywhere – taxi drivers, restaurant owners, airport employees and of course the Enayati staff and their clients.

It was not just ‘hospitality’, and while the city is incredibly diverse, it felt like the Bedouin routes of the region permeates through every interaction. Roll back the clock hundreds of years and you could easily picture being welcomed to a meal with the warmth of a family member despite having never met just without the glorious buildings and modern transportation infrastructure.

That takes us to our first Operating difference – scheduling home care in Dubai is a lot different than in North America – upon arrival tea is set out, patients and family members would be devastated if visits are tied tightly to a clock.

Don’t rush through the visit and certainly don’t turn down the tea!

This poses a tricky problem for any agency in the region – you need to schedule accordingly but you can’t offend.

In the same vein, services that are supposed to stop at 3pm on Tuesday might be extended as of 2pm on that day.

This leads to the second Operating difference – agencies must plan for capacity that is always in flux. It is one thing to project we will have 20 new referrals next Monday, but when our current discharge dates magically extend or shrink on a moment’s notice staffing to maximize quality of care without leaving a ton of staff members on the bench is very tricky.

When visiting a home the paper work and visit is not dissimilar to what we have seen in North America, world class nurses performing internationally recognized standards is the norm.

While that is the case with Enayati, there is a nuance that not all agencies in the region uphold such a high standard and in the fight for clients corners are cut.

Operating difference #3 is the marketing and fight for clients – while Enayati has thrived on reputation of being the class of the industry and do not litter hospital parking lots with brochures many of their competitors routinely stuff brochures in windshield wipers in the hospital parking lot.

It is the most common way to market your agency in the region.

Operational difference #4 are the cultural nuances such as naming conventions and directions – Intake forms have a ‘landmark’ field as addresses in the North American sense are not 100% bulletproof.

At the same time patient names are long and relay elements of the family tree – Dave Jones, son of Simon, Father of Robert is not uncommon.

What is exciting for Team AlayaCare is that our technology is helping solve each of these challenges – better planning and better access to information will inevitably result in better outcomes.

At the end of the day the bottom line is – whether in the United Arab Emirates, in Ontario or in Arizona home care  has incredibly consistency – patient care is priority #1 and that includes making them as comfortable as possible, whether that is drinking tea with them or simply providing their family with information so they can assist in the care.

We were humbled to be invited into the homes and long term facilities along with Enayati and look forward to following up with more stories of how our technology is helping Enayati accomplish unparalleled care in the region.