Covid-19: the rights of nursing home residents “greatly hampered”, judges the defender of rights



The right to ” private and family life “ was more hampered during the health crisis for nursing home residents than for the rest of the population, denounces Tuesday, May 4, the defender of rights in a report which formulates about sixty recommendations to guarantee their ” freedom “.

Over the past six years, 900 complaints denouncing the conditions and modalities of medico-social support for the elderly have been addressed to this independent administrative authority, 80% of which involved an nursing home.

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However, referrals and testimonies have increased in recent months due to the pandemic linked to Covid-19, denouncing in particular “An increase, on the part of the management of establishments, of violations of the residents’ freedom to come and go as well as of their right to maintain family ties”, is it indicated.

“Infringements of fundamental rights and respect for dignity”

Carrying out screening tests without consent, maintaining exit restrictions during periods of deconfinement, prohibiting outings nearby, visiting relatives or family carers for several weeks, making it impossible for families to see their deceased loved one because they are immediately put away. in beer, maintenance of exit bans for vaccinated residents… Many examples are cited.

“The examination of these complaints shows, on a recurring basis, violations of fundamental rights, respect for the dignity and integrity of the people received., underlines the defender of rights, Claire Hédon. The right to private and family life was therefore greatly hampered during the health crisis, and in a much more important way for people residing in nursing homes than for the rest of the population ”.

“The health crisis has highlighted the difficulties for public authorities in reconciling public health issues with the need for an appropriate response to the specific needs of elderly people in nursing homes in order to preserve not only their health, but also their rights and freedoms ”, continues the defender, regretting a “Difficult to access and read” standards in force established by the government.

The appointment of a “consent referent” recommended

“The restrictions, which can be seriously detrimental to freedom, cannot be left to the sole discretion of the management of nursing home. They must be subject to strict supervision on the basis of equality for the entire population ”, further considers the institution.

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Among the 64 recommendations of the report is the systematic appointment of a “Consent referent”, fixing a “Minimum ratio of staff working in nursing homes” established at 0.8 full-time staff (FTE) per resident, or the wish that decisions related to strengthening health measures be “Proportionate” and taken “For a fixed period”.

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