Care home standards to protect against abuse
The first phase of a government plan to improve standards in care homes was approved yesterday in the Senate.
Junior health minister Crystal Caesar said the Residential Care Homes and Nursing Homes Amendment Act 2017 would help to protect people from abuse and neglect “which is a top priority for this government”.
Ms Caesar noted that most care homes are at 100 per cent capacity. “Much work has to be done to improve long-term care in Bermuda,” she said.
Health minister Kim Wilson earlier told the House of Assembly: “This first phase addresses the most pressing areas identified by stakeholders and lays the foundation for future improvements.
“Specifically, the objectives of this amendment Bill are to clarify and improve the ministry's intervention, authority and compliance mechanisms to modernise the regulatory framework in order to provide standards on the model of care, level of care and specific residents' needs, and to raise the minimum care standards.”
Ms Caesar said yesterday the amendment would increase the qualification requirements for care home administrators and their deputies. It will also introduce grades for care homes, based on their standards.
Independent senator James Jardine said he had heard “horror stories” about the treatment of care home residents “in some cases” and welcomed the Bill.
But he suggested there ought to be fewer grade levels so all care homes would be required to reach an A or B standard, rather than being allowed to achieve a minimum D rating.
Mr Jardine said the country had 22 care homes with 395 residents and that was “still insufficient to satisfy the needs of Bermuda”.
Fellow independent Michelle Simmons said it was important to have enough inspectors to check standards at rest homes.
Ms Caesar said the Ministry of Health would be hiring more staff.