KINGSTON — A six-member sub-committee of the board of the Golden Age Home, Vineyard Town in Kingston, has submitted a number of recommendations to improve the conditions at the institution.
The sub-committee was formed on the recommendation of Minister of State with responsibility for Local Government, Hon Robert Montague, after allegations of abuse and neglect were made in an article published in a local newspaper.
Among the 14 recommendations made by the committee, was that the contract of the Administrator of the home, Major Frank McCaulsky, should not be renewed, as of April 30, when his current contract officially ends.
In revealing the results of the investigations, at a press briefing at the Department of Local Government on Monday April 18, Mr. Montague said he was deeply concerned about the allegations. He said the report has been submitted to Cabinet, and an announcement would be made shortly on the matter.
The Minister also informed that the board has recommended that further steps be taken to bring disciplinary action against the Supervisor of Cluster ‘D’ and the Operations Manager of the institution, in light of the fact that there was evidence of a breakdown in management and supervision.
Mr. Montague also told the media that some members of the board had submitted their resignations, as they felt “they were culpable in the breakdown in management and supervision”. The Minister, however, said that having read and considered the report he has asked the to continue serving.
Other recommendations made by the board, included the retrofitting of Cluster ‘D’, in particular the bathrooms, to accommodate residents with special needs; more active board oversight of the Home’s activities; a revisit of the assignment of staff and shift arrangements on the Clusters; and a review of the quality and standards of care provided by the home, including physical and hygienic conditions.
The report also revealed that there was no evidence of co-ed bathing and hosing down of the residents, which was also highlighted in the newspaper article.
“We did not observe any mass or co-ed bathing, and this was strongly denied by each person we questioned on the issue,” the report stated. “What we did find, were instances where some of our more severely disabled residents were being showered in the sluice area.”
This was done as these residents, according to the staff, could not be properly showered in the bathrooms as configured, because of their physical deformities.
Other observations made in the report included that the staff complement on the clusters, and particularly Cluster ‘D’, with its chronically disabled residents, was inadequate.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Andrew Gallimore, said he was in full support of the recommendations made by the Board.
He said the report was fairly comprehensive, and seemed to acknowledge that there were some areas for improvement, as such, he said, he would be working with the management of the Home and the Department of Local Government to ensure that the necessary adjustments are made.
By ATHALIAH REYNOLDS, JIS Reporter