Visits to nursing homes continue to be allowed

At a time of slightly increased coronavirus infections, the question arises as to how to deal with the group of the most vulnerable citizens.

STA

At the outbreak of coronavirus in Slovenia, the Home for the Elderly in Ljutomer was also attacked.

To date, there have been no new covid-19 infections in nursing homes. To keep it that way, he is the Minister of Labor, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities Janez Cigler King addressed a call to all institutions providing institutional protection for the consistent implementation of all preventive measures. “We are constantly looking for a balance between measures that will reduce the possibility of introducing and spreading the infection in nursing homes and the right of both residents and relatives to personal contact,” explained the State Secretary at the Ministry of Labor Matej Ribič.

The government has thus decided not to close the home with uniform instructions for the entire territory of Slovenia. “This decision can still be made by individual home managements based on the epidemiological picture of the local environment and the opinion of the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ),” she explained.

In doing so, the Secretary of State stressed the importance of respecting all preventive measures to prevent covid-19 infection, such as maintaining a safe distance, disinfecting hands, wearing protective masks, observing cough hygiene and respecting all other measures imposed. “Do not go for a visit if you have a fever, a sore throat, feel unwell or have any other signs of infection or have been in high-risk areas or have had high-risk contacts,” called Ribičeva.

The state secretary also explained that homes for the elderly currently have, on average, stocks of protective equipment that would be sufficient for two to three weeks in the event of an infection. “The situation is completely different than in the first wave,” she asserted.

Lack of staff

The staffing problem remains, then in the first wave of covida-19 it turned out that there was a severe shortage of staff in the homes. “For the time being, the staff remains at the same level, and the government is trying to provide additional funds for the payment of staff in all institutions that provide institutional care with the fourth anti-crown law, “ she explained.

Regarding the Ombudsman’s criticisms Petra Svetine Regarding the restriction of the rights of individuals in homes for the elderly, Ribič assessed that there is a legal basis for restricting contacts. Homes for the elderly have adopted rules for the prevention and control of infectious diseases and infections. If there is a faster spread of infections, such as in previous years in the case of the flu, the management of the home has the option to limit visits.

“Protecting people’s health and lives takes precedence over contacts. Homes, our ministry and the government must seek a balance between protecting the lives of residents in nursing homes and their right to personal contact,” the Secretary of State expressed her opinion. She added that both home directors and relatives and residents mostly support the restriction of visits.

Head of the Clinic for Infectious Diseases and Febrile Conditions Tatjana Lejko Zupanc believes that bans on visits to nursing homes are a major frustration for both residents and their relatives. “I urge everyone working in the homes to find a safe way for people to get in touch with their relatives. But I am absolutely against everything being opened without any safeguards,” she said. She stressed that access to homes must be controlled and secure. “However, I am in favor of enabling social contacts, except in environments where there is a lot of virus circulating in the population. However, it would seem sensible to me that visits to a home may also be temporarily banned,” he said. she explained.