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  • A total of 118 nursing homes across the island have been inspected since March to assess their adherence to the measures aimed at mitigating the risk of an outbreak of the virus at the establishments.
  • This involves the implementation of a communication plan, where the home reports the case to the local health department and attending physician, then awaits help; implementing/tightening the infection control plan to reduce possible spread; isolation to reduce contact with other persons; and the transfer of the individual to a health facility based on the Ministry’s policy.
  • A nursing home is defined as any premises used or intended to be used for the reception of and the provision of nursing for persons suffering from any sickness, injury or infirmity. This includes a care facility providing basic nursing services in addition to domiciliary and custodial care.

A total of 85 nursing homes, to date, have been deemed satisfactory in meeting the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ coronavirus (COVID-19) prevention guidelines and protocols.

This was disclosed by Director of the Standards and Regulation Division in the Ministry, Cynthia Lewis Graham, at a virtual meeting of the Special Select Committee on COVID-19 at Gordon House on Tuesday (May 19).

A total of 118 nursing homes across the island have been inspected since March to assess their adherence to the measures aimed at mitigating the risk of an outbreak of the virus at the establishments.

Ms. Lewis Graham informed that 33 entities have been deemed unsatisfactory, some of which have been affected by water shortage. Information on inspections in three parishes is outstanding.

Ms. Lewis Graham noted that the Ministry continues to work with the unsatisfactory entities to put the necessary protocols in place.

These include maintenance of physical distancing while sharing common spaces such as restrooms, bedrooms, and recreational areas; and guidelines for handling laundry, medical waste, and proper food preparation.

The inspection team for the homes comprises public health inspectors, public health nurses, the Registrar of Health Facilities, a monitoring officer, and a pharmacist.

Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, who is chair of the Special Select Committee on COVID-19, said he had mandated the inspection team “not just to monitor and assess registered nursing homes… [but] to assess COVID resilience and response [within] all facilities.

“I think that is important because of the potential risk that could be there if they go unmonitored,” he noted.

Meanwhile, Ms. Lewis Graham informed that a special task force is to be established to look at the revision of the protocols and the guidelines in order to make them more COVID-specific in terms of the response.

This involves the implementation of a communication plan, where the home reports the case to the local health department and attending physician, then awaits help; implementing/tightening the infection control plan to reduce possible spread; isolation to reduce contact with other persons; and the transfer of the individual to a health facility based on the Ministry’s policy.

In addition, the Director said virtual training sessions in infection control strategies are to be conducted with nursing home proprietors and other staff.

“We will be training the relevant staff, and in particular those who are actually involved in the care of the residents.

All the nursing staff and all the staff giving support in the nursing homes can be included on the Zoom meeting when we do that training,” she said.

Ms. Lewis Graham noted that there are 187 nursing homes on record, with 113 registered within the last 10 years. A total of 98 applications for registration were received for the 2018/2019 period.

A nursing home is defined as any premises used or intended to be used for the reception of and the provision of nursing for persons suffering from any sickness, injury or infirmity. This includes a care facility providing basic nursing services in addition to domiciliary and custodial care.

Nursing homes are regulated under the Nursing Homes Registration Act 1934 (NHRA), which was amended in 2002 and 2004.

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