Inmates and wards at the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) are set to receive additional psychiatric care, following the completion of training for 17 Correctional Officers and one civilian staff in Psychiatric Nursing.
The Correctional Officers who participated in the four-month training programme as Psychiatric Nursing Aides, will join civilians already employed within the correctional centres. The training was facilitated through a partnership with the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MoHW), the Bellevue Hospital and the DCS. The newly trained officers will help to provide care for inmates and wards who suffer from depression, anxiety and other psychiatric illnesses in 11 correctional centres.
Director of the DCS’ Medical Services Unit, Dr. Donna-Michelle Royer-Powe charged the graduands to implement mechanisms that will facilitate the treatment and engagement of inmates and wards who suffer from mental health conditions.
According to Dr. Royer-Powe, “as Psychiatric Nursing Aides, you will be involved in the promotion, treatment and rehabilitation of psychiatric inmates in the Correctional facilities. You will work under the guidance of the Psychiatrists and Psychiatric Nurses and act as a link between the inmate and the community. You will help to facilitate their reintegration into the community by ensuring a referral and medication are provided when they are to be released. Your observations will be key in assisting the Psychiatrists in conducting their assessments to make recommendations for the inmates/wards.”
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Bellevue Hospital – Mrs. Marcia Mullings-Thompson who facilitated the sessions said the training was done from a holistic approach that addressed the physical and psychological well-being of patients with mental illness.
The CEO noted that “the participants were taught to manage the personal hygiene of patients, identify common medical disorders and provide basic nursing care. They were also trained and certified in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The psychiatric component helped them to identify the common mental disorders and their role in caring for these persons”. The course also included de-escalation and restraining techniques to manage violent and aggressive persons.
The Officers marked the end of their training with a graduation ceremony last Thursday (June 2) under the theme “Reaping Success in Difficult Times”. Guest speaker for the event was Dr. Gail Hudson – Programme Director, Transformation and Implementation at the MoHW. Also in attendance was Dr. Kevin Goulbourne, Director of Mental and Substance Abuse, MoHW.