The care and treatment of the nation’s elderly is expected to significantly improve with the establishment of a new facility at the Geriatric Hospital.
Minister of Health John Boyce told the opening ceremony of a nurses’ seminar in celebration of Senior Citizens’ Month this morning that sub-acute care will be introduced at the hospital as the Government presses ahead with the centralization of geriatric services.
“It is proposed that a sub-acute care facility would strengthen medical services, enabling patients to be referred from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital to the Geriatric Hospital for continuation of treatment. It is also intended to strengthen the delivery of rehabilitation services at the Geriatric Hospital, thus making this facility the leading care institution,” he said.
The facility will be housed at a refurbished building on the compound of the Geriatric Hospital.
Additionally, the ministry is also moving to bring together its kitchen and laundry services at health institutions around the island to cut down on wastage.
Boyce further revealed that efforts are underway to increase the range of polyclinic services to make them accessible to elderly persons.
However, he made it clear that if expansion is to continue, consideration must be given to sharing financial responsibilities.
“Too often, the elderly person’s income is sitting in the bank or being used for purposes other than their maintenance while Government is faced with the financial burden,” the minister said.
He said his ministry is preparing a paper for Cabinet to outline the strategies for public and private sector cooperation in providing maintenance “without any financial burden to the elderly and to reduce the demand on the public purse”.
“With the new model, the ministry is optimistic that the clogging of beds at the Accident & Emergency Department would diminish and that patients would be transferred in a more timely manner between the A&E department and the rest of the health care system,” Boyce said.
Senior Citizens’ Month is being celebrated under the theme, The Way Forward For Geriatric Care.