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Covid-19: the rights of nursing home residents “greatly hampered” – France

The right to a “private and family life” was more hampered during the health crisis for the residents of nursing home than for the rest of the population, denounced, this Tuesday, Claire Hédon, the Defender of the rights in a report. which formulates around 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.

“Increase in freedom violations”

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

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“Violations of fundamental rights”

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

64 recommendations

“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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