Nursing homes in the time of COVID-19

Letters to the Editor

Nursing homes in the time of COVID-19

Thursday, May 07, 2020

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Dear Editor,

I am beyond concerned that it has taken now for the minister of health to become alarmed that only 35 of 185 nursing homes in Jamaica are registered.

I have a small, registered nursing home in Manchester and asked of colleagues about two weeks ago as to whether they had received guidance from the Ministry of Health and Wellness. None of those I asked had. Neither had I. So as vice-president of our nursing homes association here in the southern region (ASHROHE), I coordinated the production of guidelines for our own use. Not too long after I was able to get a copy of the ministry's guidelines which, up to then, no one I know had seen.

I am so very sorry that the minister has taken this approach, since being registered is not always the same as being effective at carrying out the job of good care in a nursing home. Indeed, after always being registered, I went through a long patch of not being able to secure my re-registration. There were many reasons for this, despite avid lobbying. Among them, I was told, was that the ministry had been short-staffed.

Indeed, I spent the weekend trying to encourage a study as to why our model of care in Jamaica has, to my knowledge, not produced any discernible spike in deaths. This is admirable, compared to those in developed countries. Am I missing something here?

The minister pronouncing in the way reported by the Jamaica Observer is only likely to dampen morale rather than seek to build on what could be seen as positive based on outcomes so far.

Fay Petgrave

Bloomsville House, Mandeville

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