Multi-Pronged Approach To Geriatric Care

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Laundry Supervisor, Wayne Knight was the recipient of the Hospital Manager’s Award at the Geriatric Hospital Awards Ceremony last Saturday night at the Plantation Garden Theatre. It was??presented by Hospital Manager, Joanell Oxley-Worrell.??
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A four-pronged approach is being taken by the Ministry of Health to facilitate the continuation of quality geriatric care across the island.

This was revealed last Saturday by Minister of Health, Donville Inniss as he addressed the 125th Awards Ceremony of the Establishment of the Geriatric Hospital, at The Plantation in Christ Church.

Minister Inniss noted that this initiative would involve the Ministry enhancing the viability and development of geriatrics as a specialty; and facilitating the growth and future opportunities for professionals involved in geriatrics and gerontology. He indicated it would also include supporting and encouraging ongoing education and research in elder care and effecting public policy to advance these care issues while supporting geriatric care practitioners.

The Health Minister also stressed that having a skilled workforce and administration was fundamental to the success of all rehabilitative efforts and plans for the future.??

He explained: "Continuing nursing education is of utmost importance for nurses in order [for them] to keep abreast with medical nursing and technological changes. I am aware of the call by professional nursing organisations, trade unions and the nursing fraternity for specialisation in nursing which will create service strategies for meeting the health needs of both Barbadians and visitors."

The Health Minister disclosed that two nurses from the Geriatric Hospital were currently pursuing the MSc. degree in Nursing, Clinical Specialist. ??He added: "From this area of specialisation we will start to build a cadre of nurses who are prepared in the delivery of evidence-based interventions and are well trained in assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of disease affecting a specialty population."

Mr. Inniss also reiterated the Ministry’s intention to refurbish the entire hospital on a phased basis. He noted that the construction of a new kitchen had started; and refurbishment of Wards 4 and 5B had been completed. The Health Minister also said that work on Wards 2 and 3B would commence next month and that discussions were ongoing to establish a sub-acute unit.

The Geriatric Hospital has a patient complement of 355 with a total staffing mix of 352 persons.?? It provides critical care against the backdrop that indicators of health statistics for Barbados show that life expectancy at birth is 72 years for men and 77 years for women.

According to the Health Minister, the increasing number of elderly persons (65 years and over) is expected to exceed 25 per cent of the population by 2020 and represented one of the major challenges facing the health sector. "This is especially so, because many children now live independently of their aging relatives," Mr. Inniss stated.

He acknowledged that the focus should be placed on the quality of life of the elderly, and mentioned the commitment already being made by his Ministry through the Day Care Programme at that health care facility.

The Health Minister explained: "Through this programme families are given the opportunity to keep their elderly at home while being offered the necessary support services to allow them to work and feel comfortable that their elderly are receiving adequate physical and psychological care."

jgill@barbados.gov.bb

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