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A new model for nursing homes

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Questions about quality control, fees and admissions were asked of a possible scheme to move away from traditional style nursing homes in Bermuda.

Deborah Wiegand, the director of operations for the Green House Project, was the keynote speaker at Age Concern's Annual General Meeting held this week in Paget.

Ms Wiegand was invited to discuss her organisation's US model of smaller homes for up to a dozen elderly residents.

Claudette Fleming, the executive director of Age Concern, said last week that the charity is examining whether the model could be adopted on the island.

Ms Wiegand told event attendees that the Green House model was “slip resistant to change”.

She explained: “What we want is to really change the nature of what long-term care looks like.

“And when it gets hard — and it will get hard — we don't go back to a traditional thinking process. We work through it together.”

Ms Wiegand said that the Green House goal was “to de-institutionalise, de-stigmatise and humanise” seniors' care.

She added that attendees at the Age Concern meeting were no different from those in need of long-term care.

Ms Wiegand said: “What's important to us sitting in this room today, is what's important to people living in nursing homes. We are all similar as human beings.”

She was asked by event attendees about how the homes were monitored to ensure standards, the cost to patients for a place in the homes, and admissions criteria during a question-and-answer period following her presentation.

Ms Wiegand said that the Green House model had been “rather perfected” in the US and that the organisation was looking at “what works for Bermuda”.

She added: “Bermuda is a different culture.

“So, we are here to learn and to strategise about what's next.”

Ms Fleming admitted that Green House was “not a panacea”. But she said: “It certainly points the way on how we can do things better.

“And we are going to need you to help to change the culture that says what we currently have is enough, because it isn't.”

Linda Smith, the chair of Age Concern, agreed that Bermuda's philosophy to long-term care needed to change.

Ms Smith added: “There needs to be a long-term solution available.

“Care is not affordable and we are not getting the best value for our care dollars.”

She said that many saw institutional long-term care as “antiquated and undesirable”.

Ms Smith added: “We have an opportunity to change that now. The demographics are going to require that Bermuda invest in additional long-term care facilities.

“It is Age Concern's position that as we do this, we move forward with a focus on achieving sustainable, meaningful living.”

The 2016 census found that 10,842 people, 17 per cent of Bermuda's population, were aged 65 or over.

Age Concern also used the meeting to honour local business sponsors and community partners, including law firms MJM and Trott & Duncan, Fort Knox, Mazars, and the Evangelical Church of Bermuda.

Age Concern AGM at the Evangelical Church Hall (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
New vision: Deborah Weigand, of The Green House Project, is pictured at the Age Concern AGM at the Evangelical Church Hall (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Age Concern AGM at the Evangelical Church Hall (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

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Published September 28, 2018 at 9:00 am (Updated September 28, 2018 at 11:32 am)

A new model for nursing homes

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