June 17, 2010
Minister of Health and Social Development on Nevis Hon. Hensley Daniel said the Nevis Island Administration’s (NIA) decision to train and employ eight additional elderly care providers, to assist with the care of over 500 seniors, was in keeping with its People’s Agenda promise to make care of the island’s elderly a priority.
The Minister was at the time delivering remarks at a brief but significant ceremony to herald in the first of an eight week training workshop for the caregivers. The event was held at the Alexandra Hospital’s conference room on Monday.
He said given an environment in which many countries had to cut back on employment of persons in social services, the NIA’s decision should not be taken lightly.
“We are doing this in an environment that many of our countries in the region are being asked to send home people who work in services like these because they have to reduce the payroll. The Antigua Government has been required to do that by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The government in Spain and if you follow the news right across Europe, all of the governments have had to reduce the number of people employed in social services.
“What we are doing in the Nevis Island Administration? We are adding and that is not to be taken lightly and because of that we are expecting from you a high quality of service and a high quality of commitment,” Mr. Daniel said.
The Minister used the opportunity to urge the caregivers in training to utilise the opportunity they had received for training and to build on the foundation they would receive.
“This training must be a start. We have done this so you must now go further. Take your own personal interest and learn more about the elderly and it will help you to be a better care giver. I trust that you will take it from there and I wish the training well and I trust that this will be continuous.
“Nurse Dias, let us make sure they come back every six months or three months, put what they learn in practise, let them share what they notice and so on and the programme would evolve over time because it will have their own input. Enjoy the training and use it as a first step for greater things.” he said.
Meantime, Matron at the Alexandra Hospital and head of the training team Nurse Aldis Dias in her remarks explained that the course of training would be done twice weekly from 1-3pm on Mondays and Wednesdays.
She pointed of some of the subject areas that would be discussed during the training programme.
“Care of the elderly; Professionalism; conduct on your duty; code of ethics; how to prevent pressure sores for your elderly; grooming ““ cutting of naills, combing of hair; and how do you call for help when the need arises in the home.
“You will meet circumstances that you will have to call for help you have to be able to handle it yourself. So those are some of the topics. The facilitators include myself, Sister Farrell who is the Assistant Matron and some of my nurse managers at the hospital,” she said.
In her turn at the podium, Assistant Matron Nurse Eldina Farrell expressed excitement about the programme because it was known that persons who cared for the elderly faced many challenges and therefore the team of facilitators was pleased they were in a position to assist the care givers.
“Even a simple thing like feeding the elderly there is a procedure for that. So we are excited we expect that you would attend all the schedule classes so that you can gain all that we have to impart,” she said.
The ceremony was chaired by Acting Supervisor of the Seniors Programme Mrs. Garcia Hendrickson. Also in attendance was Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Mr. Alsted Pemberton, Health Care Givers and staff of the Social Services Division.