Ehpad: residents’ rights “seriously hampered”

In a report, the Defender of Rights believes that the rights and freedoms of residents in nursing homes have been undermined during this period of the pandemic.

“The elderly, including those in a situation of loss of autonomy or disability, enjoy the same rights and freedoms as the general population” recalls the Defender of Rights Claire Hédon, in a press release. However, the latter, which regularly receives complaints relating to restrictions on the rights and freedoms of people accommodated in EHPAD, has been even more questioned on this subject since the start of the health crisis linked to the pandemic.

France is one of the European countries with the highest proportion of elderly people in EHPAD (8.8% of those aged 75 and over). Nearly 7,600 EHPAD thus welcome more than 600,000 elderly people with loss of autonomy or disabilities who are mostly people in a situation of vulnerability, disability or loss of autonomy. As the Defender of Rights underlines in a report which will be published, all people who are accommodated in nursing homes have “the right to respect for their dignity and to protection against any form of mistreatment. This principle implies not reduce the human being to his body by treating him as an object and that the human person is not instrumentalised or used simply as a means, but always as an end.

Despite the vaccination, visits remain prohibited in some places

However, many situations brought to the attention of the Defender of Rights show that reality does not always comply with this principle. And that this principle has been flouted even more during the pandemic. The vulnerability of the elderly to covid-19 has indeed led school directors to adopt rigorous restrictive measures (ban on going out, impossibility of seeing families, abolition of visits to rooms, etc.) which derogate from ordinary law, outside any normative framework.

“At the start of the health crisis in particular, we were seized by families who could not see the body of the deceased. Elderly people died alone without any support from their loved one.” clarifies Claire Hedon dn an interview with Le Figaro. She adds: “Even today, despite the vaccination, difficulties persist. The latest complaints indicate that visits remain prohibited in places, that some elderly people are placed in solitary confinement after a family outing. We are particularly worried about this. see that these obstacles to freedom persist ”

What is a Defender of Rights? It is an independent administrative authority charged by the Constitution with ensuring respect for rights and freedoms.

Source : The fundamental rights of people accommodated in nursing homes, Defender of Rights, May 2021

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