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Summerhaven unable to give Luke care he needs

Luke Caines

Dear Sir,

This is my opinion on the story in The Royal Gazette dated June 3, 2016, in reference to Luke Caines. His sister, Carla Franklin, would like for Luke to reside at Summerhaven.

However, I as the chairman of the Bermuda Physically Handicapped Association and a long-term resident of Summerhaven, advise that Summerhaven at this time is not the solution for Luke.

Here are a couple of facts that have to be understood:

1, Summerhaven was not built for persons with multiple disabilities

2, Summerhaven was built for physically challenged persons with at least 80 per cent mobility and mental capacity. The facility was designed as an alternative to the rest homes and nursing homes. Unfortunately, the Summerhaven chairman, John Powell, and his board are allowing the Government to use Summerhaven as a dumping ground for problems they have not been able to solve.

The Government had the opportunity to use the concept of Summerhaven. The idea was the brainstorm of the late Sir Richard Gorham. They could have built future facilities such as Summerhaven for young people with physical disability. Some of Luke’s previous caregivers have expressed to me that Luke needs lots of care and attention. We don’t want him to be isolated here at this facility because of his mental capacity.

There are no activities to occupy him at Summerhaven. Daily interaction is vital to Luke and that would be a setback here, as there are hardly any residents around on a consistent basis, or even someone showing up to take him out.

The visitors from the churches, and the Pink Ladies on their visitation trips in and around the hospital, will often stop to see Luke. He spends most of his day in the lobby, thereby getting to see lots of family and friends, and his needs are met because there is always help around. However, we must keep in mind his total welfare.

I recommend that someone from his present care facility come to spend a day down at Summerhaven and observe the daily routine of the resident before they make that decision.

I was impressed when the Government first opened the National Office for Seniors and the Physically Challenged. I am now disappointed by that office. In the years that it has been operating, there has not been enough lobbying for the disabled.