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Rehab centre is not a shelter! - Chief medical officer of Sir John Golding says patients must go home after treatment

Published:Wednesday | October 31, 2018 | 12:00 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
Dr Rory Dixon, chief medical officer of the Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre, making a presentation on ‘Outlook of Spinal Cord Injury in Jamaica’ during a symposium at the centre in St Andrew yesterday.

Persons with spinal injuries who are without family or a place to live may find it hard getting treatment, as administrators of the Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre in St Andrew are adamant that they must have a set place of residence before being considered for admission.

Chief medical officer at the institution, Dr Rory Dixon, told The Gleaner yesterday, following the staging of the Outlook of Spinal Cord Injury in Jamaica Symposium 2018, that the bed count at the facility is far fewer than in 1954 when it was established as the Mona Rehabilitation Centre.

Currently, there are 20 adult male beds and eight female adult beds at the facility. The rehabilitation centre serves the Jamaican population of approximately 2.7 million, which is grossly disproportionate to the number of beds available.


2006 FIRE


"There was a fire in 2006 which destroyed part of the premises, and we have not been able to recover from that. The population has also increased. There has been an increase in violence, motor vehicle accidents and all of that. Over the years, the system has not been prudent to expand the facility to accommodate the population," said Dixon.

He said that the institution's strict policy of ensuring that persons with spinal injury have family members to pick them up after treatment is because "not everybody has a home. Somebody may live alone, and when they come in for admission and are admitted, they cannot earn any money".

Dixon continued, "Where they are living, they are not paying any rent and, unfortunately, sometimes, they get evicted when they are in hospital, so they have nowhere to go when they are finished. You can't predict those circumstances. If the person doesn't have a relative and they are coming from a hospital, a social worker from that hospital will have to send a letter saying that the hospital will take back the patient."

He concluded, "The bottom line is that this is a rehabilitation hospital, so as a civic duty to others who require the services, it is prudent that persons have a home to go back to when they are finished."