As part of its thrust to improve the quality of service and the standard of care in public hospitals and health centres across the island, the Ministry of Health has introduced a Compassionate Care Programme.
The launch of the new initiative took place at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital on North Street in Kingston on March 27.
In his address, Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, said that effective health care extends beyond clinical analysis and treatment, to include a demonstration of care and compassion.
“Public health is also about a state of mind and the process should take into consideration the psychological aspect of healing,” explained Minister Tufton.
The Compassionate Care Programme, he noted, is geared towards doing just that, to complement the clinical side of public health with the psychological aspects of administering care in the public institutions.
“A Compassionate Care Policy was developed in 2017 and was approved by Cabinet following consultation and discussion, and this policy will now act as a guide for how we ought to operate in dispensing care within the system,” the Minister said.
He explained that there are some specific areas that will be addressed by the programme, with improvement of customer service being the first component.
“We have so far trained 73 frontline workers of the Victoria Jubilee and Kingston public hospitals in customer service delivery, because we understand that the state of mind of a patient is equally important to their well-being as their physical condition,” the Minister said.
The intention, he added, is to train all frontline staff within the public health system across Jamaica by the end of the year.
The second component of the programme will focus on the recruitment, training and organising of volunteers within public health to render additional support in administering compassionate care to patients while they are recovering or while they wait for treatment.
Improving the aesthetics of waiting areas of clinics and hospitals is the third component of the programme.
“We are encouraging the administrators of these facilities to take steps to brighten the spaces in an effort to make the waiting time more comfortable and pleasant for the patients. It is also important to mention that the bathroom facilities should be in a decent condition for persons who have to wait,” Dr. Tufton said.
The aesthetic improvement began with renovation work completed at the antenatal clinic at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital, which has been painted in vibrant colours and consists of vital messages for users of the facility.
The new layout is expected to be replicated by other facilities islandwide over the next few years.