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Government needs to support struggling care homes, says OBA

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Susan Jackson, of the One Bermuda Alliance (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Efforts must be made to protect the island’s care homes, the One Bermuda Alliance has said.

Susan Jackson, the area MP, said she was disappointed by reports that Westmeath, the island’s largest seniors home, was struggling to address severe financial shortfalls.

“To be blunt, our seniors will lose if Westmeath or any care facility on the island closes,” Ms Jackson said.

“Where will they go? Yes, some residents will be able to take their loved ones home, but what happens to the ones who have nowhere to go?

“The Bermuda Hospitals Board can’t afford the strain. Additional seniors to care for means less beds available for the remaining sick on the island.”

“While I am fully cognisant that it’s not the Government’s responsibility to keep private care homes open, it’s in the best interest of our seniors that it lends assistance if it can.”

Westmeath Residential and Nursing Care Home (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Ms Jackson added that the situation highlighted the need for a national plan for long-term care on the island, as called for by Claudette Fleming, the executive director of Age Concern.

The comments came a day after The Royal Gazette reported that Westmeath was understood to have virtually exhausted its financial reserves of more than $1 million and to be having difficulty in paying staff and maintaining the building.

Tinée Furbert, the Minister of Social Development and Seniors, said on Sunday that the Government was examining the financial state of nursing homes.

She said: “Some nursing homes have expressed the need for relief, and we have been in discussions with them to make every attempt to assist where we can to keep our nursing homes open.”

Ms Furbert added: “The lingering effects of the pandemic have compounded nursing homes' financial difficulties.

“Nursing homes’ limited capacity to fundraise throughout Covid has also affected their funding.

“Now, with the country's relaxation of restrictions, fundraising plans and efforts should also be a part of the nursing homes’ uplift.”

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Published May 31, 2022 at 7:47 am (Updated May 31, 2022 at 11:13 am)

Government needs to support struggling care homes, says OBA

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