Bahama's Geriatric Hospital Caregiver Symposium

The Geriatric Hospital (a long-term medical care facility located on the grounds of the Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre on Nassau, Bahamas) is a premier health care facility that provides comprehensive medical, rehabilitative, social and psychological treatment to patients.

In 2015, the Geriatric Hospital celebrated its 50th Anniversary of operation. The Hospital Management and Public Relations departments organized several activities to highlight the facility’s work and strengthen community awareness about the types of services offered. It was also thought that senior caregiver education could be an additional initiative that could be formally offered, and the Geriatric Hospital Caregiver Symposium was born coinciding with the commemoration of Older Persons Day in October 2015.

The one-day Caregiver Symposium is organized by a committee with expertise in various subjects relevant to caring for older persons. Since 2015, nine symposiums have taken place. The main aim of the Caregiver Symposium is to help build caregiver capacity to ensure optimum care for older persons diagnosed with multiple chronic health problems, including dementia, by providing useful and engaging information about caregiving. Objectives include:

  • to provide a simple and accessible learning medium for community caregivers
  • to support carers and expose them to local services available that can optimize their experience
  • to expand awareness about geriatric syndromes and importance of respecting the dignity and autonomy of older people for as long as possible.

Learning about disease processes that commonly affect older adults and knowing what to expect can help caregivers feel more in control and better able to plan ahead. It is also important for family caregivers to learn ways to manage stress and care for themselves in the midst of caring for a loved one.

While caregiving can be burdensome and stressful it can also be rewarding. Educational programs like the Caregiver Symposium empower caregivers by providing information about skills that they can use in their caregiver role and providing an opportunity to have a day for themselves; a change from the norm of their daily routine.

The Symposium is held annually in October and has remained free of charge to attendees. With the exception of the years during the COVID-19 pandemic, the symposiums have been held at various locations within Nassau, New Providence, including church halls and education centers. During the COVID-19 pandemic years, 2020-2022, due to national physical distancing protocols, the symposium was delivered as a live webinar. On average, 200 people have attended the symposium each year. The costs of hosting these symposiums, including expenses for the venue rental, audiovisual support and refreshments for attendees, have always been generously provided by faithful corporate sponsors.

For more information about the Symposium please visit: https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/tVIMhyLJACYhN231I2jlJLIn_50IxLarmP0vZV1yIgWm5V7QCzIBktu9w7jThjZu.WOG9fje1uBtsceEN

More information about the Geriatric Hospital: In 1965 the Geriatric Hospital was established on the grounds of the Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre on Fox Hill Road. Former Bahamas Premier Sir Roland Symonette officially opened the building in June 1965. The hospital’s first patient population consisted of persons from the community, the psychiatric wards of Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre and the former Prospect Hospital.

The Geriatric Hospital has space allocated for five (5) wards providing room for up to 85 patients. It is a 24-hour medical facility with daily rehabilitation services to older clients. The Hospital also offers outpatient services via three community clinics, one a weekly and the others on a monthly basis.