Protecting seniors

Minister of Health, John Boyce speaking with Assistant Secretary of the BECA, Jenise Belgrave and President of the BECA, Maureen Ward.
Minister of Health, John Boyce speaking with Assistant Secretary of the BECA, Jenise Belgrave and President of the BECA, Maureen Ward.

The Ministry of Health is very concerned about the treatment meted to some residents in a number of elderly care facilities on the island.

Senior Medical Officer, Dr. Kenneth George made this disclosure as he gave an overview of care of the elderly in Barbados at the opening working for the Raising The Bar In Elderly Care seminar which was hosted by the Barbados Elderly Care Association at Hotel PomMarine in Hastings, Christ Church this morning.

He said: “We get very upset, … that is the thing that angers us most, when we hear there is abuse of some form reported. We at the ministry are concerned with the number of reports† of professional misconduct…

“Although sometimes the investigations may show it is sometimes a little bit of vindictiveness, but nonetheless I urge you as proprietors to make sure that those become less. The people are well trained but we shouldn’t be as a ministry, where we have a high burdened agenda, be looking at investigating who hit who.

“There will always be issues about care but that should be at a minimum and I encourage you to look at that particularly.”

Minister of Health John Boyce, who gave the featured address noted that as the number of nursing homes continued to increase his ministry too recognised there was a need to strengthen the monitoring and quality assurance systems that must be applied not only to private nursing homes but throughout the geriatric care system.

As a result, the minister said, they were currently reviewing the inspection process to ensure that nursing homes, senior citizens homes inclusive of day care facilities and private hospitals met the minimum requirements set out in the regulations.

This process, he added, would include close cooperation with Town and Country Planning Department, the Barbados Fire Service and the Environmental Protection Department.

‘Put quality of care of clients first’

Boyce said: “I take this opportunity to urge nursing homes to put quality of care of clients first and to familiarise yourselves with the legislation. The process of making sure you are familiar with the legislation must include both the letter of the law/regulation, and the actual application of these regulations in practise.

“The Ministry of Health is committed to work with you to improve any areas of deficiency in legislation, however, we will not tolerate disregard of critical areas in the legislation, including provision of wholesome and adequate nutrition and supervision of clients by appropriately trained staff.

“The Ministry of Health is pleased to be associated with legislation, Health Services (Private Hospitals, Nursing Homes, Senior Citizens’ Homes and Maternity Homes) Regulations that seek to regulate and standardise the clinical, operational and structural functions of all nursing homes and senior citizens homes in Barbados.

“This legislation, which was last updated in 2005, gives a framework for good governance and management of nursing homes in Barbados.”

He also vowed that his ministry would continue to give support to the Alternative Care for the Elderly Programmes by allocating $6 million for the financial year 2013-2014. These funds would facilitate some 252 persons in 37 nursing/senior citizens’ homes because they believed it was a worthwhile investment for the care of elderly people in society. (KC)†

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