Written by 8:14 am Art

Unfit facility – manager – Barbados Today

Government’s plan to construct a new state-of-the-art Geriatric Hospital has been welcomed by the manager of the prevailing facility who says the Beckles Road, St Michael plant shouldn’t be adequate to fulfill the needs of either clients or staff.

Based on Heather Payne-Drakes, the present hospital in-built the nineteenth Century shouldn’t be conducive to delivering optimum medical care or promoting independent living for clients.

Moreover, she lamented that there’s low morale amongst staff since the facilities and programmes don’t cater to their administrative and recreational requirements.

“Along with providing for our clients, we are also concerned with our staff. The current facility mainly provides for the care of clients within the absence of staff amenities, which doesn’t augur well for employees morale,” Payne-Drakes said during Wednesday’s Barbados Tourism Investment Inc (BTI) virtual public consultation on the proposed construction of a new hospital at Waterford Bottom, St Michael, inside the environs of the National Botanical Gardens.

“The new facility is designed to be conducive to the delivery of quality care by staff, providing basic amenities for employees satisfaction and luxury – amenities to offer breaks away from the clinical areas, cafeteria for the supply of on-site meals, changing facilities with facilities for showers, [and] overnight facilities for employees working for prolonged hours.”

Further explaining the conditions at the prevailing hospital, Payne-Drakes said the executive offices are inadequate and cramped, leading to some administrative functions having to be conducted off-site.

She said this resulted in inefficiencies and delays in routine accounting and personnel functions as they involve the physical transfer of documentation between separate locations.

“As well as, the constructing, as has been stated before, is old and the feasibility of continued upgrades shouldn’t be tenable. In 2018, two out of the 18 wards were refurbished at an approximate cost of just over BDS$200 000. This work was done in partnership with the Barbados Defence Force (BDF) and, in consequence, many of the labour costs weren’t included on this expenditure,” the hospital manager said, adding that finding temporary accommodation for clients while repairs are being done can be a serious problem.

Noting that the Geriatric Hospital was established in 1884, Payne-Drakes said times were changing and elderly clients required the next standard in addition to medical attention to flourish and luxuriate in the later stages of life.

“The goal then, in our services, is getting clients to succeed in their optimum functionality, promoting dignity throughout all phases of care, and maintaining independent living for so long as possible. The new facility is designed to bring greater give attention to rehabilitation to enhance and maintain physical and mental functionality which improves medical outcomes and promotes the general well-being of clients.

“Along with rehabilitation, it could also provide for enhancement of therapeutic dietary services and podiatry. These services are essential for maintaining the health and well-being of clients in long-term care,” she said, adding that getting access to gardens and a chapel on the proposed facility can be a plus for clients.

One other concern concerning the existing hospital is its close proximity to the coastline, presenting a threat to staff and clients within the event of serious bad weather.

Payne-Drakes explained that while the hospital could also be ordered evacuated if a serious storm was projected to affect the south of the country, and plans are in place to facilitate the method, having to relocate 278 elderly clients over a 48-hour period would prove to be a serious disruption.

The BTI is leading the new Geriatric Hospital project. (AH)

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