After a follow up review last week, the Cayman Islands Complaints Commissioner has found that some improvements have been made at the Sunrise Adult Learning/Training Centre in West Bay.
The complaints commissioner completed a report on the Centre, which was tabled in the Legislative Assembly in October which highlighted several deficiencies in the training centre’s building which could pose life safety risk to its clients. The report proposed 11 safety and health related improvements.
Complaints Commissioner John Epp said there has been significant improvement to the health and safety of the West Bay facility.
The improvements include additional emergency exits from the building, fully fitted out with wheelchair accessible ramps. Fire exits that are now clearly identified and paths to exits made easily accessible. One of the bathrooms has been renovated to allow for better access and use by the disabled and wheelchair-bound.
Improvements to outdoor porches and ramps have proven to be excellent additions for use in ambulatory programs, Mr. Epp said.
The Centre has obtained written permission from the landlord to make any changes required to the facility, both inside and out. In addition, the director of Sunrise confirmed that the Centre now meets the required standards as set out in the Cayman Islands Building Code and that they had received their official Certificate of Occupancy.
‘While it is extremely encouraging that the Ministry has taken these steps to improve the facility, we are awaiting compliance with the remaining recommendations which, as stated in the October report, should be implemented as a matter of urgency,’ said Mr. Epp.
Among the recommendations in the report was for the Ministry to revisit a decision to reject an offer by a corporate donor for a modular classroom, which would provide some immediate relief to the issue of overcrowding.
Among the health and safety issues that the report said the Ministry and Sunrise must tackle was to take steps to arrange better access to medical emergency services.
The report also found that when new clients were introduced into the Centre, little if any background information or preparation was given to the staff. This had the potential to cause problems if a client reacted violently to a situation that the staff should have been aware of.
The overcrowding also affected instructors’ ability to teach because they were preoccupied with keeping clients safe and might lack the energy to do more than the minimum in the lesson.
The Commissioner further recommended that the Ministry and Sunrise take steps to continue to improve management systems and procedures, and that the delivery of training programmes be regularly monitored by the Ministry until it is satisfied, by an objective standard, that the quality of the programmes is satisfactory.
This reflects the findings that some disabled adults might be capable of independent living by the time they are 25 to 35 years old, which was very important to ageing caregiver parents and to the community as a whole.
However, while occupational therapy and job placement appeared to be areas of strength at Sunrise, the OCC found that clients were not assessed for skill levels and their progress was not assessed regularly, and that clients spent too much time watching television.
Dr. Epp recommended that client assessments be completed at regular intervals and that documented communication with parents and guardians about clients occur regularly.
The final recommendation of the report was that the Ministry and Sunrise should provide a plan for the way forward which addressed the shortfalls in the provision of education for disabled adults.