House: Rise in applications to open care homes
All of Bermuda's residential care homes are at maximum capacity, Health Minister Jeanne Atherden has revealed.
Mrs Atherden made the announcement during her Budget presentation in the House of Assembly.
She said the combined budget for the National Office for Seniors and the Physically Challenged (NOSPC) was $3.136 million for 2015-16.
“That is essentially unchanged from the previous year due to furlough days being reinstated,” Mrs Atherden said. “Excluding the Continuing Care Unit at KEMH, there are 19 care facilities, including Summerhaven.
“Two of these facilities are Government-operated. All of these facilities are at maximum capacity.”
The Health Minister told the House that Bermuda's ever increasing senior population had prompted a rise in applications to open and register new home facilities.
But this trend had in turn highlighted “challenges and service gaps” in the system.
She said: “The senior population is expected to be 22 per cent of the Bermuda population by 2025. This has been seen as a business opportunity by some entrepreneurs.
“There has been an increase in applications to open and register new residential care home facilities, adult day care centres and private home care provider agencies.
“These entrepreneurial pursuits have highlighted challenges and service gaps, as many wish to convert buildings designed as family homes into care facilities, and we currently do not have regulations or standards to guide adult day care centres or private home care providers.”
During her Budget speech on Monday, Mrs Atherden also provided details of the number of elder abuse cases that had been investigated by the NOSPC.
“In 2014 the Case Management team managed 243 cases,” she said. “Not all case management cases are abuse cases. Some of the cases are complex and require constant monitoring. Others are resolved once the client's concern has been addressed, a short-term need is met, or long-term placement has been secured.
“In 2014 there were 129 persons who were referred to the Community Assessment Referral Team for additional support in the home or placement in a residential care facility. In 2014 there were 25 investigated abuse cases, abuse types being defined as psychological/emotional, physical, sexual, and financial exploitation.”
She said the cases were investigated and handled by the Case Management Team and Registrar for the Senior Abuse Act, or referred to Police.