Press Release

Ministry of Health & Social Development
Elderly Care
Release Date:
Wednesday, 14 February 2024 - 11:10am

The Ministry of Health and Social Development will be hosting a virtual workshop to improve the prescription of medication for the elderly.

The “Safe Prescribing for the Elderly” workshop will be held on Thursday, February 29 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. via a virtual platform. The session is geared towards doctors, nurses, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and caregivers who wish to empower themselves with lifesaving information and improve care for the elder population.Chief of Drugs and Pharmaceutical Services, Mrs. Gracia Wheatley-Smith said, “The elderly are diagnosed with maybe two or three chronic conditions that decreases the functionality of the organs which makes them more prone to experiencing side effects and adverse drug events.”

Mrs. Wheatley-Smith explained that prescribing for the elderly takes into account the side effects of medications, adverse events, drug to drug interactions, drug-disease interactions and medications that should not be prescribed for certain conditions.

The Chief of Drugs further stated that the workshop, aims to improve physicians prescribing techniques for the elderly. 

“We also want to empower pharmacists to flag prescriptions and dosing information that may adversely affect the elderly,” Mrs. Wheatley-Smith said. She added, “We want caretakers to be able to spot red flags early and alert family members, who would then liase with the doctor or pharmacist so appropriate actions can be taken. This is a part of efforts to improve the quality of care given to our elders.”

The workshop will also feature the Beers criteria, which are five categories of potentially inappropriate medicines for persons over the age of 65. This include medications to avoid among persons with certain health conditions,  medications that may cause drug to drug interactions, medications to avoid where the risk outweighs the benefit ratio, and medications to use at limited dosage or avoid due to effects on the kidney function.

Participants will gain knowledge on pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamics changes in the elderly and the factors that influence doctors’ prescriptions.  A medicine utilisation review of a small random sample of prescriptions written for the elderly in the Virgin Islands will also be looked at among other objectives.

 The workshop will be facilitated by Consultant and former Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, Pharmaceutical Procurement Service, OECS/PPS head, Mr. Francis Burnett. There is a $10 registration fee and Continuing Education credits will be available upon completion.

Interested persons can register for the workshop by emailing or by telephone at 468-9850. 

The Ministry of Health and Social Development is committed to improving the health of the people of the Virgin Islands.



Natasha Lettsome-Humphrey

Public Health Communications Specialist
Ministry of Health/Social Development
Telephone: 468-2286