Government response to the nursing home situation is “not up to par” as reports of “abuse” and “rights violations” mount, the Rights Defender, who is preparing to release a report, denounces on Sunday.
“We continue to see violations of the rights of those living in nursing homes (…). The response of the public authorities is neither in line with the reported violations nor with the urgency,” assesses Claire Headon in an interview with JDD.fr, who presents on Monday a follow-up report of the 64 recommendations issued in May 2021 during the Covid crisis.
“We are seeing an increase in messages. The rights advocate investigated more than 900 complaints related to elderly people in nursing homes in the six years leading up to the 2021 report. Since then, we have received 281 more,” she continues.
The addition, which will be presented in her report, is compiled on the basis of the complaints received and “the responses of ministries and state bodies to the recommendations sent by us,” the Defender of Rights clarifies.
This is in 43% of cases of “abuse”, in 30% of cases of “restricted visits”, in 12% of cases of “restricted freedom of movement”. These shortcomings apply to both the private and the public, she said.
But “Eighteen months after the first report, the results are extremely alarming: 9% of our recommendations have been implemented, 55% have been announced but are difficult to implement, and 36% remain unanswered,” laments Claire Headon.
The report’s main recommendation is to establish a “minimum supervision ratio” including “at least eight caregivers and assistants per ten nursing home residents.” “In France the ratio is 6 to 10, and in the Nordic countries it is 10.”
“If we do not move in this direction, then in fact we are being mistreated. We are still told about the forced bed rest of the elderly, two days a week, residents who, due to lack of human resources, stay in pajamas all day, do not have the right to shower every 15 days, have dinner at 17:30 to adapt to staff schedules and who we put on protective gear so they don’t have to escort them to the toilets when they don’t have urinary incontinence,” explains Claire Edon.
Human rights activist Claire Ebdon, October 15, 2021 in Paris (POOL/AFP/Archive – Ludovic MARIN)
Another black spot is untimely conclusion to institutions after several infections.
“Life has returned to normal for the entire population with no Covid-related restrictions,” but “some institutions are reassigning residents to their room or their floor as soon as “they have a few positive cases.”
They “restrict visiting rights, forbid going out, force them to leave the doors of the rooms open in order to monitor the observance of the distance,” the Defender of Rights lists.
Asked about the hiring crisis in the senior profession, she believes that if we restore “a normal level of supervision in nursing homes, caregivers will return to work there.”