Jackson calls on hospital to make CCU report public
Opposition MP Louise Jackson has called on Bermuda Hospitals Board to make public a report by US experts on the state of the Continuing Care Unit at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital.
She said yesterday she welcomed the news that experts from Massachusetts General Hospital visited the Island to review the $13,800-a-month facility, which offers long-term nursing care for seniors, as well as younger disabled patients.
But she added: “I must say I do also wonder why the report that has been done on this facility has not been made public.
“Secret reports are not in keeping with the Government’s often-repeated commitment to transparency, for a start.
“But in this particular case, it is alarming for the families and friends of the patients of the CCU that the report is being held in secret, because it makes them wonder what the hospital is trying to cover up.
“It seems to me the enlightened thing to do is publish the report, so that we all know exactly what kind of a problem we face, and so that exaggeration is not possible.”
The One Bermuda Alliance’s spokeswoman on seniors claimed anyone who had visited or had a relative at the CCU “knows that it sometimes seems an almost Dickensian place”.
Mrs Jackson alleged: “Some of that will be due to the nature of the facility and its patients, but some of it must also be as a result of practices and procedures that need updating.
“We believe that up to now, CCU has not had the appropriate staff resources it needs and therefore has not been able to create an environment that is suitable for seniors.”
She said the unit needed a set of procedures to ensure the best standards of care, the removal of young disabled patients from the unit and suitable recreational facilities for the elderly.
“In addition, I believe the Hospitals Board needs to see that the Residential Care Homes and Nursing Homes Act 1999 is brought up to date,” she added.
Mrs Jackson questioned why BHB sought the advice of Mass General when KEMH received Canadian accreditation. “Why not ask a Canadian hospital for help?” she asked.
A BHB spokeswoman told this newspaper last week: “The report itself is an internal document but we will be happy to share our improvements as they take place.”
The spokeswoman added last night: “We welcome the Shadow Minister’s support of this report and can already confirm that the improvements will include ensuring best practices as they relate to geriatric care.
“This report has already resulted in a 20-point action plan, which will be shared with our board members this month.
“As we have previously noted, we will be happy to publicly share the improvements we are making, but this can only be done after board approval.
“As we have also previously noted, Massachusetts General is a clinical partner of ours, a world leader in this area, and the introduction of these standards is consistent with Accreditation Canada.”
BHB told this newspaper in December that the per diem or daily rate for CCU patients was $423; the Ministry of Health said it was $13,800 a month.
Asked why the fees were so high, a BHB spokeswoman said the unit offered a “large range of services for a variety of patients with various levels of acuity”.
She said: “Some patients on CCU have medical needs that require hospital care and would not be appropriate candidates for private nursing homes.
“For example, we provide care for patients who are on a ventilator, as well as those who require a locked facility as a result of Alzheimer’s and other related disorders.
“We also care for a number of young and disabled patients. Our per diem fee includes the services of a full-time geriatrician, a weekly dental hygienist and a podiatrist.
“An extensive, daily activities programme is available to all CCU residents. We provide 24-hour nursing/nursing aide and orderly care, which includes wound care dressings and disposable supplies.”
We asked Health Minister Zane DeSilva for a comment yesterday through a spokeswoman for his Ministry but did not hear back by press time.
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