Health Minister John Boyce has called on nursing home owners and proprietors to work towards improving the services offered to the elderly.

Noting that there were about 650 senior citizens living in both Government and private sector facilities, he warned that the Ministry of Health was strengthening its regulatory role to allow a wider reach by the Advisory and Inspection Committee.

Mr. Boyce was today addressing a seminar, held at the headquarters of the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), on The Care of the Elderly. The seminar, sponsored by the Ministry of Health, dealt specifically with caring for the Alzheimer???s patient.

The Minister told his audience that while the Ministry recognised the good work being done by many nursing homes in providing care to the elderly, there were still too many complaints with respect to lack of work ethic, poor nutrition, limited recreational activity and elderly abuse.

???I urge you today to again use the opportunity provided by these workshops to examine your administration processes and the clinical care offered to our senior citizens,??? he said.

The improvements he would like to see, he stated, would be in the provision of good nutrition; environmentally friendly living spaces; time and areas set aside daily for physical activity; and staff that were committed, caring and compassionate.

He said that up to 2014, 32 nursing homes were registered and the Ministry of Health would be paying particular attention to the homes not registered to ensure that they improved their standard of care to patients.

Mr. Boyce reminded proprietors that all nursing homes must comply with the regulation, Health Services (Private Hospitals, Senior Citizens Homes and Maternity Homes) 2005, which required them to have a valid fire certificate, proof of liability insurance to protect staff, relatives and patients, and proof of registration of professional staff.

He pledged Government???s continued support to the Alternative Care of the Elderly Programme, which provided accommodation for indigent elderly Barbadians in private nursing homes at a cost of $4.3 million a year.

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