Court Order For Ministry To Administer Facility

December 14, 2016

The Ministry concluded that there was a “serious risk” to the residents of Summerhaven, and a Court Order was made to allow the Ministry to administer the facility, Minister of Health and Seniors Jeanne Atherden said.

Speaking at a press conference today, Minister Atherden said, “The Ministry of Health and Seniors has a duty to care for and protect Bermuda’s residents.

“The Ministry has been actively investigating and taking action on complaints about the treatment of residents of Summerhaven. Summerhaven is a private care home for persons with disabilities; it is not a Government facility.

“After spending many months working with the Summerhaven Board to improve conditions at the home, an Administrator from the Ministry was appointed in February 2016.

“For three months that person addressed many of the complaints and ensured the facility was registered as a residential care home. This is a requirement under law for anyone providing board and personal care to two or more unconnected persons who are disabled.

“Continued work with the Summerhaven Board by the Ministry appointed administrator ensured a privately-hired Summerhaven Administrator was appointed in May 2016.

“There was a positive transition from the Government-appointed Administrator to the Summerhaven Administrator. The Ministry continued to monitor Summerhaven and positive changes were observed and feedback from the residents was also positive.

12-minute video of the Minister’s press conference today:

“In October 2016, after four months in the position, that Summerhaven Administrator was dismissed. Residents held a protest reported in the media. Since October, the Ministry received complaints which escalated in frequency and severity, which were investigated.

“The Ministry concluded that there was a serious risk to the lives, health and wellbeing of the residents at the facility. Following an application to the Courts under Section 16[1][c] of the Residential Care Homes and Nursing Homes Act 1999, on 7 December a Court Order was made that the Ministry administer Summerhaven and care for its residents until such a time that the Ministry is satisfied that Summerhaven is operating in accordance with the Act and Regulations.

“To be clear, this is an action that has never before been taken. The Magistrate recognised that many months of supportive Government efforts took place to remedy the situation but agreed with the Chief Medical Officer that residents were still at ‘serious risk’. We acted, as we must, in the best interests of the residents.

“In addition, since October, the Ministry ensured the Board conducted a recruitment process for a new administrator and that process remains underway.

“The Ministry has been concerned about the lack of protection for vulnerable adults, and is actively exploring the establishment of an Office of the Public Guardian, as stated in the 2015 Throne Speech.

“The Ministry’s goal is to ensure legislated adult protection of vulnerable persons whether in residential facilities or in the community. Legislative changes will aim to ensure it is not only persons in institutional settings who are protected.

“The work has been progressing on the legislation to better protect vulnerable persons as well as persons in residential care homes, and legislative amendments will be presented when finalized.

“In the interim, the Ministry’s Ageing and Disability Services have continued to receive and investigate complaints—whether in the community or in residential care homes— to ensure vulnerable persons are protected, and to work with residential care homes to improve standards and care quality.

“The Government is committed to looking after the most vulnerable members of our society. To me, this is the measure of a caring and sophisticated society.

“We need to meet the needs of Bermuda’s seniors and people with physical, cognitive or mental disabilities, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. And this is exactly what we are doing, through Ageing and Disability Services, and through our Long Term Care Action Plan, under the Bermuda Health Strategy 2014 – 2019.

“There can be no more important work than making sure we care for those who need our support. Government will continue to protect Summerhaven residents while working alongside this private facility to ensure a favourable outcome,” Minister Atherden concluded.

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Comments (6)

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  1. Terry says:

    In the early 50′s it was known as the ‘Haunted House’.
    I visited it back in 1971 when there was one occupant.

    It was haunted then.

    It still is with memories of neglect in all areas.
    Shalom and may the folks get respite

    • sage says:

      I always thought the one Browns clinic is in was the one people said was haunted.

  2. mmm says:

    These disabled residents have suffered abuse and neglect in a health care institution ( Summer-haven) their own home. The Court has empowered the Ministry of Health to run the day to day affairs of Summer-haven. Hopefully those determined to be guilty of deliberate wrong-doing will appear in Court on criminal charges, and will be held liable for mis-use of the public purse. Government provided funds for some of the needs of the residents, whether staff salaries and maintenance bills were taken care of as well I don,t know. Government needs to make a full statement to the residents and their families on a personal level at the appropriate time. Inquiries I am sure are still going on, but, at least for the present time they are under new management.

    • clearasmud says:

      It seems to me that it is the Board that should be answering for what is going on Not government. If the Chairman of the Board is the cause of much of the unrest then the Board should be challenged to replace him, that is assuming that they are not also part of the problem. It may be time to replace the whole Board!

  3. Tracker says:

    I recall the Brown Clinic as the haunted house.

  4. Widget says:

    I applaud the ministry for taking control of this facility. If the residence say they have been mistreated by the management and staff then They must ALL GO. Replace them with people that will run it as a home for these people.