??Minister of Health, Donville Inniss, delivers the feature address at the St. Philip District Hospital’s Community-Based Care for the Elderly Programme to an attentive audience (insert), today at PAHO, Dayrells Road, Christ Church. (G.Brewster/BGIS)

The Ministry of Health will be restructuring its elderly care services to bring all the Government owned elderly care facilities under one management umbrella to deal with administrative, clinical and support services.

This was announced by Minister of Health, Mr. Donville Inniss, as he delivered the feature address at a seminar on Home and Community Based Care for the Elderly at the offices of the Pan American Health Organization in Barbados. It was one of the events that marked the St. Philip District Hospital’s week of activities. ??

He said: "We are currently spending approximately $40 million per year of the Ministry of Health’s budget on alternative care of the elderly program. We have to find ways of doing better with limited resources. Therefore, we shall start with a restructured department designed to effectively manage elderly care services and facilities, both [in the] public and private sectors". ??????

As part of the efforts, Mr. Inniss stated that the Ministry of Health would be focusing its attention on health issues confronting the aging population and pledged its full commitment, in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Care, to creating an enabling environment with strategies and programmes geared to continue to improve the quality of life for elderly persons.

"The Ministry believes that many resources in our communities remain untapped and with the coordination of these resources, our elderly, among others, will benefit from these alternate sources of care. The Ministry of Health has already begun to provide care in partnership with the community," he added.

He reminded those in attendance that the Ministry had a duty to license and inspect nursing homes across the island and to investigate complaints regarding quality, care and service, including Governmental facilities. Mr. Inniss stressed: "We cannot have one set of rules for the private sector and one for the public sector".??????????????

Meanwhile, in his remarks, Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Steve Blackett, reminded Barbadians that development as a nation should not come at a cost to the elderly.?? He said that The White Paper on Ageing, which was now in its final stage before submission to Cabinet, identified a number of services which would provide additional support for the elderly.

Mr. Blackett further stated that aside from the construction of more community based facilities for assisted and independent living, the proposal included the provision of more daycare centres for the elderly, more training for caregivers, more meals on wheels programmes, mobile health care and the fostering of more volunteer programmes geared towards care of the elderly, in their vicinity.


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