Facelift coming for Geriatric
THE GERIATRIC Hospital is tired and needs a facelift, says Minister of Health John Boyce.
Addressing a seminar for nursing personnel yesterday at the National Union of Public Workers’ Horatio Cooke Auditorium, Dalkeith Road, St Michael, he said this would be one of the Government’s goals for the future.
“Government’s way forward for Barbados’ elderly population will include the centralisation of a number of our geriatric services. This move would call for refurbishment of the Geriatric Hospital in Beckles Road, St Michael.
“It is a large piece of real estate, it is essentially very tired and we recognise there has to be substantial repairs at this facility and this is one of our major priorities.”
Boyce said one of the proposals concerning this refurbishment would be the introduction of subacute care.
“It is proposed that a subacute care facility would strengthen medical services, enabling patients to be referred from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) 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 elderly care institution in Barbados.”
The minister said centralisation also included the support services, such as kitchen and laundry services, which would address the expenditure being spent on several small individual kitchens and laundries at the various state-owned health institutions around the island.
Speaking to the Accident & Emergency (A&E) Department at the QEH, Boyce said they would be addressing the long-standing issue of long wait times by seeking partnerships with the private sector.
“My ministry is in the process of 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 this 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 and the rest of the health care system,” he said.
The seminar, entitled The Way Forward For Geriatric Care, is usually held by the St Philip District Hospital but principal nursing officer Lolene Rawlins said it had been expanded this time around.
“For the last ten years during Senior Citizens Month, the St Philip District Hospital usually holds a seminar as part of its week of activities. This year we asked the other [district hospitals] to come on board to assist us with the planning because we realised they are some things in our institutions which need improving,” she said.
Chief nursing officer Wendey Sealy said it was about raising awareness of the importance of the elderly in the community.
“Often older persons don’t get the attention and quality of care they deserve and within the context of nursing, it is an area which is somewhat neglected. So we want to focus on strengthening the geriatric care system from both the private and public perspectives,” she said.