JIS News

To heighten the skill levels of those employed in infirmaries, formal training programmes have been delivered to staff members, Minister of State with responsibility for Local Government Reform, Hon. Robert Montague has informed.
“We have collaborated with the HEART Trust and the Ministry of Health in certifying some of our employees as Psychiatric Nursing Aides and to give them basic medical training, so that they can respond in an emergency and they can deal with and treat with the problems of the aged,” Mr. Montague pointed out.
The State Minister was making his contribution to the 2010/11 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on October 26.
He informed that at the Vineyard Town Golden Age Home, in Kingston, Health Care Assistants were Awarded National Council on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (NCTVET) certificates, bringing to 93 per cent the level of certification of the persons employed at the Home, who specialise in caring for the residents
“At the Golden Age Home, the government provides $817 per day to take care of each resident. It is the collaboration with our private sector partners and civil society to a total of some $15 million that has helped to keep that facility going, as is the case with other infirmaries right across the length and breadth of Jamaica,” he said.
The home is a limited liability company, which was opened in 1985 to provide residential care and welfare services for senior citizens in Kingston and St. Andrew. It is the largest and only model of its kind in the Caribbean.
Additionally, the State Minister noted that rehabilitation works are being undertaken at the St. Thomas, Hanover, and St. Mary infirmaries.
“We have done some work at the St. Thomas infirmary in completing a ward that was damaged by former hurricanes. We have broken ground for a brand new facility in Hanover, a new prototype of how we are going to deal with the aged in smaller community homes rather than institutions,” Mr. Montague said.
He also noted that the Department has collaborated with the Ministry of National Security to accept some elderly persons who have been deported to Jamaica and who have no friends or family and nowhere to go, adding that “rather than let them stay on the street, we have opened the doors of our infirmaries to accept them.”
Mr. Montague said that the Board of Supervision has mandated and supervised the implementation of a disaster plan for each infirmary, and that the plans have been assessed and have met the standards of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM).
The Board of Supervision is a statutory body that has legal oversight for the relief of poverty and destitution among members of the Jamaican society as well as for monitoring and setting standards for the island 14 infirmaries.
“One of our greatest achievements is that we have embarked on a programme jointly with the Food and Agriculture Organisation to provide basic food items produced by the residents for use by the residents. We have started in St. Thomas with a poultry project and vegetable garden and we are moving to St. Elizabeth, Manchester, St. Mary, Portland and Westmoreland in rolling out this project,” the State Minister said.
He noted that the project in St. Thomas has earned over $1 million in providing eggs and vegetables to the kitchen at the infirmary.
Mr. Montague thanked the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund for its commitment to assist the infirmaries.

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