‘Elderly abandoned in hospitals, some still admitted after more than a year’

PEOPLE are abandoning elderly members of their family at hospitals with some patients still admitted after more than one year, says West divisional medical officer Dr Susana Nakalevu.

She made the comment while speaking at the launch of the Senior Citizens Week at the Tanoa Waterfront Hotel in Lautoka yesterday.

She said apart from abandoning the elderly, family members are also providing hospitals with false addresses and telephone numbers.

“Unfortunately, people come and leave loved ones in the hospital and when we try to discharge the patients, we cannot contact family members,” she said.

“The phone numbers that are given nobody answers when we call it, we go to the addresses given and find it’s not the patient’s home or place where they live. People are living in hospital beds for one year and even longer. And we are trying to discharge them because the bed is for people with acute sickness. This is the chronic problem in our nation.”

Dr Nakalevu added that one of the key areas where the issue could be addressed was through strengthening family relationships.

“We have to go back to the family. If children see the way their grandparents are being taken care of by parents and if there is love and respect in the home, then that is the respect they will grow up with for the elderly.”

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