The rights of nursing home residents “greatly hampered”, judges the Defender of Rights

For the Defender of Rights, 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. – GILE Michel / SIPA

The rights and freedom of residents in nursing homes were much more violated during the health crisis than for the rest of the population denounces Tuesday the Defender of Rights in a report. The phenomenon is not new since over the past six years already, 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.

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 freedom to come and go of residents as well. that of their right to maintain family links “, specifies the report which formulates some sixty recommendations to guarantee their” freedom “.

Prohibition of exit during deconfinement

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 restrictions can not be left to the sole appreciation of the management of nursing home”

“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 the“ difficult accessibility and readability ”of the standards in force established by the government.

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

Among the 64 recommendations of the report is the systematic appointment of a “consent referent”, the setting of a “minimum ratio of staff working in nursing homes” established at 0.8 full-time staff (FTE) per resident, or ensure that decisions to strengthen sanitary measures are “proportionate” and taken “for a fixed period”.

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