The Ministry of Health today said it would recommend disciplinary action against a helper seen on a video on social media abusing an elderly woman at a home for the elderly.
In a statement issued today, the ministry said it was in the process of writing to the relevant authorities, recommending the suspension of the licence of the nursing auxiliary involved, pending a hearing.
“This step will ensure that the practitioner does not secure similar employment in another home before the investigation has been concluded,” it said.
The ministry said the incident was first brought to its attention on May 10 by the Barbados Elderly Care Association and immediate action was taken.
“So far, two detailed assessments of the nursing facility have been carried out. The ministry is satisfied that the proprietor has taken the necessary corrective action and has dismissed two employees involved in the incident,” the statement said.
The video has attracted the attention of Minister of Social Care Steve Blackett and Chairman of the National Assistance Board (NAB) Senator David Durant, both of whom have condemned the paid helper seen kicking and hitting 84-year-old Jasmin Hall as the elderly woman begged her to stop.
Speaking on radio this morning, Blackett said he would ask the relevant authorities and stakeholders to launch a full investigation into the matter.
“I am going to ask my colleague Minister of Health John Boyce to look into it; I am going to ask that Senator David Durant . . . to also look into this because we certainly cannot have this kind of thing existing in Barbados. It is terrible. I could not believe my eyes when I saw that,” the minister said.
Meanwhile, following an emergency meeting this afternoon with the owner of the home Pamela Hill, as well as other NAB officials, Durant said he had asked the police to step up their investigation into the abuse because he believed charges ought to be laid.
The police visited the home this morning and have indicated that they were investigating the matter.
“I do not believe that this is an isolated situation. But I hope that this would put a halt to other similar situations that are happening to other elderly individuals across the island,” Durant said.
The senator also indicated that Government was seeking to strengthen legislation regarding care of the elderly in a bid to prevent similar cases. He said he was also seeking to ensure more vigilant monitoring of nursing homes to ensure that they are operating in accordance with the law.
“Every worker must have a care of the elderly certificate and must be properly trained in dealing with the elderly. This must be reinforced,” he said.
“Also we want to encourage Government to take a firm stance against any form of discrimination towards the elderly. In this case I see verbal abuse, emotional and psychological abuse, as well as physical abuse. I believe that someone should be charged for this and made an example of because we cannot tolerate abuse of the elderly or anybody in Barbados,” Durant stressed.