Health Minister John Boyce has called for an improvement in services offered to the elderly by nursing home owners.
Addressing a seminar on the Care of the Elderly at the headquarters of Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) yesterday, Boyce warned that his ministry is strengthening its regulatory role to allow a wider reach by the Advisory and Inspection Committee.
He stated that while the ministry recognised the good work being done by many institutions in providing care to the elderly, there are still too many complaints with respect to lack of work ethic, poor nutrition, limited recreational activity and elderly abuse.
“I urge you today to again use the opportunity provided by these workshops to examine your administration processes and the clinical care offered to our senior citizens,” he said.
He told the audience he would like to see the provision of good nutrition; environmentally friendly living spaces; time and areas set aside daily for physical activity, as well as committed, caring and compassionate staff who look after the estimated 650 senior citizens living in government and privately-owned facilities.
Boyce noted that there were 32 registered nursing homes up to 2014, and the Ministry of Health would be paying attention to the unregistered facilities to ensure they improved their standard of care to patients.
The minister reminded proprietors that all nursing homes must comply with the regulations that require them to have a valid fire certificate, proof of liability, insurance to protect staff, relatives and patients, as well as proof of registration of professional staff.
He also pledged government’s continued support to the Alternative Care of the Elderly Programme, which provided accommodation for indigent elderly Barbadians in private nursing homes at an annual cost of $4.3 million.