03.01.03. Public long-term care system | Jamaica

03.01.03. Public long-term care system | Jamaica

27 Sep 2022

The  government of Jamaica through the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development provides non-institutional as well as institutional care to adults and children. The Poor Relief Department (embedded in the Ministry of Local Government) was established to relieve poverty and destitution. Non-institutional care refers to Jamaicans who are able to care for themselves or receive assistance from others but  may be destitute and in need of temporary assistance. On the other hand, for institutional care, clients are wards of the state and receive care in infirmaries or golden age homes. As previously mentioned in part 2, the Poor Relief Department also provides provisions to give temporary assistance to all Jamaicans.

In terms of public institutional care, there are 16 infirmaries in Jamaica that provide care for the poor and destitute who are unable to take care of themselves due to mental or physical causes. The exact number of those who utilise this system is unclear. However, the Minister of Local Government, Desmond McKenzie reports that the infirmaries have over 2500 residents and workers such as nurses and community health workers (Jamaica Observer, 2020). In fact, the Minister recently asserted that 90% of its residents are over the age of 65 (JIS, 2020).


Jamaica Information Service (JIS). (2020). COVID-19 Digital Town Hall Meeting for Senior Citizens March 25, 2020. Available from: https://jis.gov.jm/videos/covid-19-digital-town-hall-for-senior-citizens-march-25-2020/

Jamaica Observer. (2020). Government limits access to infirmaries, golden age homes, May 14, 2020. Available from: https://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/government-limits-access-to-infirmaries-golden-age-homes/