Senior’s group welcomes care plans
Age Concern has welcomed a raft of new developments designed to improve how seniors are cared for in Bermuda.
The changes were announced by Health Minister, Jeanne Atherden, in the House of Assembly.
The Minister's implementation of an annual, unscheduled inspection of care homes, and plans to look at separating the role of the National Office of Seniors and the Physically Challenged (NOSPC) so it is not responsible for licensing and inspecting care homes and hearing complaints, have received a warm reception by the seniors advocacy group.
Charles Jeffers, deputy chairman of the board, told The Royal Gazette that Age Concern was greatly encouraged by Ms Atherden's comments, but added the group was still determined to fight for age discrimination to be included in the Human Rights Act,
“A lot of what was said by the Minister was very encouraging,” Mr Jeffers, said.
“News that the three most senior positions at the NOSPC have now been filled shows that an effort is being made in this area and we appreciate that. We had been wondering what was going on with that for some time.
“The Minister also encouraged the need for stakeholder input, which was good to hear. We have already presented some of our concerns.
“The implementation of an unscheduled visit at residential care homes would also be a welcome move and an important one.
“The separation of roles for the NOSPC when it comes to receiving and inspecting care homes and receiving complaints is also a step in the right direction. Previously we had a situation of Caesar appealing to Caesar.”
On Friday Ms Atherden revealed Katherina Gibbons, from the Department of Child and Family Services, had become Coordinator for Seniors, Karen McCottry, from the Orange Valley Centre, had become Coordinator for Disabled and Keeona Belboda, from the Opportunity Workshop, had been seconded to Acting Manager for the NOSPC and Registrar of Senior Abuse.
She also outlined plans to explore introducing “Care Quality Standards” through legislation or by establishing a certification or accreditation programme for residential care homes in Bermuda.
“We have implemented a process of the monthly reporting of complaints to have an ongoing complaints register,” Ms Atherden said.
“In terms of visits and inspections, changes have been made to the Residential Care Facilities visiting process so they now occur three times per year, two scheduled and one unscheduled.
“This process will assist with ensuring that all homes comply with the requirements and of the legislation.”
“I have concerns about the current practice of NOSPC being responsible for the licensing and inspecting of care homes and also being the recipient of complaints for those same homes.
“In my view, these roles should be separated and I have asked staff how a separation can be accomplished.”