Chief Social Development Officer Annie Malone-Frett said plans are underway to conduct critical COVID-19 tests on staff providing care to residents at the elderly homes in the territory.
She told BVI News in a recent interview that it was one of the methods of keeping the vulnerable population residing at these local facilities safe.
“We have limited the entrances that workers can enter the building. There are designated areas in which they can enter, and once they enter, they go through a temperature check. We are also making provisions right now to have them all tested for COVID-19 through the Public Health Department,” she stated.
There are roughly 30 staff members at the Adina Donavan Home providing care to 20 residents, some of whom (residents) are bedridden. About five persons are also housed at the Virgin Gorda Elderly Home.
Social media helps
In the meantime, with the halt on visitations to these homes, Malone-Frett said residents are using social media to communicate with their family and friends who are unable to visit.
“Being that it is such a volatile population group, we took the proactive step to not allow persons to go in. But with the use of social media, persons who are in a position to get into that where we can access contact between family members and there are also the phone calls that are still allowed.”
She continued: “It has been going well. There are persons who are bedridden, so the smaller minority in terms of persons who can participate in those activities are those persons who would be given the opportunity.”
Cabinet to decide when to resume visitations
Like the rest of the world, COVID-19 has also affected the residents of these elderly homes as it relates to their ability to communicate and socialize.
“At some point, we will open back the doors to visitors in a controlled manner, so we are working on what those protocols should look like, and once those protocols are finalized and submitted to the Cabinet, they are the ones who will make the final submission on that,” Malone-Frett stated.
Meanwhile, she said one of the ways the elderly homes receive income is through the Social Security Board.
“There is currently not a standardized policy in place whereby persons are deemed or mandated to pay for their stay. However, there are some persons who are admitted, and if they have Social Security contributions under the Social Security Ordinance, it says whoever is providing care for you that is where half of your contributions should go. So for some of them who are there, that’s basically how their monies are being utilized.”
She said that half of the monies go to the Treasury Department, “to make sure that there is accountability” while the other half goes to the elderly residents themselves or to a designated family member.
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