Mixed results in CCRP survey of users of care homes

Retirement homes play a vital role in providing care for seniors who are no longer able to live independently. Nursing homes are supposed to provide care and comfort for the aged, however, if not run properly, they are a breeding ground for various kinds of abuse. Members of CCRP (Caribbean Community of Retired Persons), the advocacy organisation for seniors, have expressed concern about the quality of care being offered in local nursing homes. 

The organisation recently surveyed their members on experiences they may have had with care  homes.  Of the members who responded, 70 percent were able to comment on the experience of family members while 30 percent shared that of friends and acquaintances. 

When asked “How would you rate the nursing home experience?”, most respondents reported relatively positive experiences with 43.9 percent of responses being ‘good’ and 39.02 percent being ‘fair’ while 17.08 percent of respondents indicated that the experience was ‘poor’.

The nursing homes rated ‘good’ were: 3 Angels Nursing Home in Clarendon; Murray’s Nursing Home in Manchester; and the following in St Andrew: Family Tree, Glo's Adult Care Centre, Harrison Memorial, Jamaica Baptist Union Horizon Home, Green Acres, Gallimore McPherson Home, Morningside Retirement Resort, Sunshine Nursing Home.

When asked about the factors contributing to poor experiences in nursing homes, 31.7 percent of respondents selected poor nutrition, 29.27 percent neglect,12.2 percent poor hygiene, 9.7 percent verbal abuse,12.2 percent emotional abuse, 2.4 percent physical abuse while 51 percent of persons responded with “none of the above” (please note that respondents had the option of selecting more than one response). Of those who did have issues, the problems included issues such as bed sores, no night guard or alarm button in each room, high level of theft, alarmingly poor medical emergency response, unavailability of doctors and making mistakes with medication between patients. 

It is important to note that the majority of the respondents highlighted areas in which the nursing home excelled in care:  53.85 percent of participants selected proper hygiene, 28.2 percent selected proper nutrition, 41 percent selected positive communication, 30.8 percent selected physical aid, 48.7 percent selected good emotional care and compassion toward patients, while 18 percent of persons responded with “none of the above”. Other areas respondents mentioned were practical and professional staff, well-maintained and lovely ambiance, family life and spiritual upliftment.

Of the homes reported on, 33 were in Kingston and St. Andrew, 3 each in St. Catherine and Manchester, 1 in Trelawny, and 2 in Clarendon.

Ageing is an inevitable part of life and as we grow older, the ability to live alone and care for ourselves tends to diminish. As such, the demand for quality long-term care services has become increasingly important. CCRP advises that when considering if you or your loved one should seek care in a nursing home, it is important to visit several establishments and investigate whether each potential service provider is up to date with licensing and has a high standard of care.