a public health scandal


In France, nearly one in two deaths from Covid is a resident of nursing home. Faced with this observation, many questions arise. By investigating for six months in several institutions, public and private, Xavier Deleu and Julie Pichot have done a remarkable job.

Interviewing residents, families, caregivers, administrative officials, the two authors paint a maddening picture of the dysfunctions that took place, especially during the first three weeks of March, during which most nursing homes were not equipped with protective masks.

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The summary of this troubled period? Equal access to healthcare for all citizens has not been respected. Put more bluntly: the elderly have been sacrificed by being too belatedly taken care of by overwhelmed emergency services. When they were not outright refused admission to intensive care at the hospital, considered non-priority.

18,000 contaminated employees

We did not leave this trip unscathed. The words of relatives, put aside for long weeks, prevented from seeing their parent, from knowing their state of health, from being able to say goodbye, hurt. For Philippe Juvin, head of the emergency department of the Pompidou hospital in Paris, « On should have tested everyone in nursing homes very quickly. More than 3,700 residents died in the first week of April. After that, when the masks and the tests came in, the deaths went down. “

Decryption: in France, having a final death toll will take several months

Double rooms, shared toilets, shared bathrooms were obvious places of contamination. And for at least two weeks, the nursing home staff worked without a mask. Result: 18,000 contaminated employees. The public authorities had requisitioned the masks for hospitals.

Nothing was therefore planned for nursing homes where, it is worth remembering, the “h” does not indicate hospital but accommodation. In other words, a structure in which only basic care is provided. In about fifteen establishments, the staff made a radical choice: to remain confined with the patients. To keep them from leaving them “Slide”, to leave a life that is no longer worth it without smiles, caresses or words.

Covid-19: what is really going on in nursing homes ?, de Xavier Deleu and Julie Pichot (Fr., 2020, 90 min), followed by a debate with Dr Christophe Prudhomme, Anne-Sophie Pelletier (LFI MEP), Pascal Champvert (Association of directors serving the elderly) and Brigitte Bourguignon , Minister for Autonomy.

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