The Barbados Elderly Care Association (BECA) is developing a policy document for owners of nursing and senior citizens homes which will outline standards of care when it comes to this country???s elderly.

President, Maureen Ward, explained that the procedural manual, which should be ready by year-end, was ???a very comprehensive document???, and had taken quite some time to put together because of the range of areas that had to be covered.

She was speaking on Monday at the Savannah Hotel, during a one-day workshop hosted by BECA, entitled ???The New Employment Rights Law and the Employer??? for operators of nursing and senior citizens homes. Mrs. Ward said while the majority of owners gave quality care, there was some concern over cases where the elderly were not being looked after as well as they should.

???My goal really is to get all of the nursing homes on board so that we can establish standards of care towards the elderly and we can give a better image to our public and our communities.

??????And, we are also training all of the caregivers. It is a year???s course and has been approved by the General Nursing Council. We train the caregivers on ethics, morals, care of the elderly, diseases that affect the elderly, and so on. So, we are on the road to improving the standards of care with skills and the knowledge of those who work with the elderly,??? she explained.

Mrs. Ward said the association was looking to boost its membership, since there were 67 registered nursing homes, but only 35 BECA members. However, she emphasised that owners and operators should not only join the association to see ???what???s in it for them???, but instead to help and uplift each other.

She noted that BECA planned to reach out to potential members through seminars, in addition to other initiatives.

???With this seminar, we are looking at the wages of the persons who work with the elderly to standardise that and to make sure there is a registered nurse and a doctor for the nursing homes to see after the clinical aspect of these elderly persons. It is just not combing hair and giving a cup of tea; they have to be knowledgeable???because quality of life is very important, no matter how old you are,??? she said.

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