The Ministry of Human Services and Social Security will soon add a mental health and physical wellbeing programme to the roster of services it provides at the Night Shelter.

Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr. Vindhya Persaud told the DPI the initiative is a collaboration between her Ministry and the Ministry of Health. Dr. Jeetendra Mohanlall, National Tuberculosis Programme Manager, was engaged in the process to enhance the services at the Shelter.

“This area (Night Shelter) will have a triage unit where they (health officials) come, test and monitor persons who would come off the roads so that we can have that level of care for patients as well working towards having on-site nurses and doctors to address the health needs,” Minister Persaud explained.

The Shelter will also be upgraded with the installation of a kitchen, washrooms and other amenities.

“I think having an active kitchen will cater, right away, for the residents so that they have fresh food since some are elderly persons and others have disability. So, we are looking at them holistically,” the Minister said.

Overall, the Minister said, the goal is to reintegrate indigent persons back into society. In keeping with this objective, the services at the Shelter will be strengthened to provide broad-based care to help persons in difficult circumstances transition back into society.

“This will be an ongoing programme aimed [at getting] people off the street into the shelter, and reintegrate[d] back into the workforce, ensuring that they have skills and are gainfully occupied. Those who are not able to for some reason, maybe physically challenged or other disabilities, we will work with them differently, which will come on stream,” Minister Persaud explained.

These services will all be included in phase one of a much larger project, the Minister said.

She also revealed that while she is considering requests for similar facilities in other parts of the country, there are currently no plans to open other night shelters.

Meanwhile, Dr. Persaud said peoples should not abandon their elderly relatives at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation or on the streets but make use of the available services at the Palms Geriatric Home.

“If the need arises that we need to have homes elsewhere, we will partner with other entities to see how we will develop this. I am hoping that we will have a different sense of caring and responsibility kick in so that people can take care of their elderly because not only this shelter deal with the elderly but the Palms. Once people are 60 and over, they [can] go to the Palms but even in those instances, [if] people can care for their parents and grandparents then they should,” Dr. Persaud said.

Those who are unable to care for their elderly relatives who suffer from ill-health can contact the Ministry for guidance and support. (Extracted and modified from the Department of Public Information.


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