She is smiling, Marthe, on the phone. At 85, she hopes to come out. Feel “The wind on [son] face ‘, find the outside world. “I even miss the noise of cars”, she jokes. Hosted in an Ehpad in western France where 91% of residents are vaccinated, she learned of the Council of State’s decision on the radio. On the evening of March 3, the summary judge of the high administrative authority suspended the ban on exits for nursing home residents, recommended so far by the Ministry of Health, and applied in a majority of establishments.
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Since nearly 80% of nursing home residents have received their first vaccine injection, and more than 50% both doses, “This total ban [de sortie, NDLR] is disproportionate “, specifies the judge in his order. His arguments: according to “The scientific data available”, the vaccines in use are effective, not only in reducing the risk of being contaminated and developing a severe form in the event of contamination, but also against the different variants, including the English variant.
Find freedom of movement and privacy
“The share of nursing home residents in new contaminations has been halved in 4 months. And the share of nursing home residents in deaths has been halved, to fall below the 20% mark, whereas it was 40% since October “ we confirm to the Ministry of Health. As such, the exits of residents who have been vaccinated now appear “Compatible with the safety of all residents and staff of the establishment”, according to the Council of State.
Experts in old age have been calling for several weeks to ease constraints in nursing homes, families and residents wishing, for a year that their lives have been turned upside down, to regain freedom of movement and privacy. “We are very happy that the Council of State has taken this decision”reacts Florence Arnaiz-Maumé, general delegate of the National Union of Institutions and Residences for the Elderly (Synerpa), which brings together private retirement homes.
An easing planned at the national level?
However, the reestablishment of the freedom of movement is a loosening of screws, but not a slackening, since it remains subject to case by case and to the responsibility of each management of nursing home. Exit authorizations will be granted according to the decision of each establishment manager, in “The conditions it defines”, “Depending on the size of the establishment, the nature of the planned discharge, the vaccination rate of residents and staff or the proportion of new variants observed at departmental or sub-departmental level”. Neither is there any question of renouncing barrier gestures and measures of “Enhanced protection” will have to be put in place when returning to the establishment, specifies the judge’s order.
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Finally, this relief applies mainly to vaccinated people. “What about unvaccinated residents? The question continues to arise ”, asks a director of nursing home in Normandy. CCNE was contacted on this subject.
And now ? “I am waiting to see what decision will result from this order, on the ministry side”, continues this one. For Florence Arnaiz-Maumé, of Synerpa, the text of the Council of State should “Require the public authorities to work on a more flexible protocol”. For her, this relaxation “Call others”. Particularly around family visits, which are still limited and supervised in a number of establishments for the elderly. Brigitte Bourguignon, Minister Delegate in charge of autonomy, has already summoned professionals from the sector for a meeting on March 4.