MSJMC struggling to deal with patients abandoned at the hospital

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Administrators at the Mount St Johns Medical Centre (MSJMC), say they are running out of options  to relocate some patients whose relatives have abandoned them or those who simply do not have anywhere to go after they have been discharged from the facility.
Relocation, through the assistance of a social worker and governmental agencies, is one of the strategies the hospital has adopted as the “struggle” continues to free-up bed space occupied by healthy patients to meet the growing demand for inpatient services.
“There have been times when we had patients at the hospital for a month, two months, three months sometimes. They are not ill, but there is nowhere to discharge them to and no support systems for them,” said a well-placed source who could not be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.
” We would write letters to the various ministries, we would try to find the avenue but sometimes there just isn’t any option. This same situation sometimes happens in the Emergency Room (ER) as well, meaning they come in for emergency situations and remain there for days,” the source said.
Despite placing several of these abandoned patients in homes run by charities over the years, the hospital still has an undisclosed number of patients who have been discharged but are yet to be released into the care of a relative.
The situation has also caused a serious shortage of beds and other basic items needed in the emergency room.
“Sometimes some people have to wait a long time for a bed in the ER and then you have three, four patients on the unit who are just social cases. And the beds in the ER are not the typical hospital beds for you to be on for a long time,” the source revealed.
The source also spoke of cases where people have taken up residence in the Chapel at the hospital which is always open for people who are seeking a quiet place to pray and worship.
The top hospital official described the situation as “untenable” and called on the government to act quickly to have it addressed.
The individual said the situation puts the hospital in a precarious position because some of the patients are in need of follow-up care at home and if they are discharged with no place to go the institution will come under fire if that patient’s health is compromised.
Health Minister Molwyn Joseph told OBSERVER media yesterday he is fully aware of the situation which was drawn to his attention weeks ago.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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