Tue | May 23, 2017

Bustamante Hospital for Children (BHC) – My very first experience

Published:Thursday | March 5, 2015 | 3:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

First, let me express sincere gratitude to the hard-working members of staff at the Bustamante Hospital for Children. Thanks for your service.

I must also encourage the dedicated parents who ensure that they offer love and support to their children who are faced with many adverse medical conditions and have to endure so many discomforts during treatment and on their way to recovery.

I, however, write specifically to address the unavailability of bathroom facilities for parents, especially those whose children are admitted on the wards. There are only two bathrooms that are accessible to parents: at the X-ray Department and Accident and Emergency Section, respectively. These two bathrooms, which are in need of repair, are located closer to the entrance of the hospital, which makes them even farther away from Wards 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8. It is quite unfortunate that irrespective of which ward a child is placed on, whenever there is a need to use the bathroom, parents/guardians have to use either of the above-mentioned bathrooms. Therefore, you have no choice but to leave your child unsupervised, especially, infants, who cannot assist themselves, if there is no family or friend to supervise the child while you make your away across the compound to use the bathroom. Added to that, after walking this long distance and needing to urgently use the bathroom, upon arrival, you are sometimes told by the janitor that it is unavailable as they are cleaning same. On one occasion, I told the janitor to lend me the mop and I would wipe away my footprints afterwards, as the need to "go" was very urgent. I was allowed to use it.

This situation must be urgently addressed in order for proper hygiene to be practised as well as to decrease the spread of diseases. Parents/guardians have no choice but to nurse, clean and attend to their children, as the nurses are preoccupied with dispensing medication and conducting medical checks. Some parents choose to stay overnight and sometimes for days with their children without going home, even if it means sleeping in a seated position in the single uncushioned chair that is placed at the bedside. Hence, in the mornings, there is the need to freshen up (brush teeth and bathe) to face another day of catering to the needs of your child/ren. I do believe that, if we work together, there can be a more comfortable environment for the parents/ guardians ... . A responsible and caring parent/guardian can sometimes make the work of the medical staff easier as they can cater to the non-medical needs of their child/ren, as necessary. Hence, adequate sanitary facilities are needed for parents/guardians, even at a children's hospital.

making it better

for parents

I would like to call on corporate Jamaica to assist in creating a tenable, sanitary and possible lounge area for parents/guardians whose children are admitted on wards or those whose children are receiving medical attention which would cause them to stay overnight at the Bustamante Hospital for Children, as the continued non-existence of these facilities can lead to the spread of illness, thus lengthening recovery time for children and placing a greater burden on the health-care system.

Probably, a small fee can be collected from those parents who can afford to pay and be used to create such a facility, with additional support from corporate Jamaica, to have these facilities in place without much further delay.

I would also like to encourage some of the nurses to carry out their duties in a more tactful manner and to desist from discriminating against individuals and implore them to treat everyone with utmost respect, irrespective of physical appearance and status. Parents, be respectful and courteous to the staff and adhere to the rules of the hospital to enable better staff-parent relations.

Let us work together on taking care of the health of the nation's children as we seek to make "Jamaica the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business". (Vision 2030)

Concerned Parent

and Social Worker