Controversial use: Covid patients work in retirement homes

The situation in many care facilities has worsened in the last few days. The shortage of staff means that infected nursing staff have to work – with cantonal approval.

Swiss care facilities deploy staff suffering from Covid to maintain operations. (Symbol image)

Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

  • In order to keep their operations going, Swiss care facilities use staff suffering from Covid.

  • The The Swiss professional association of nursing staff knows about institutions in several cantons where nurses were encouraged to work in old people’s homes despite positive test results and clear symptoms.

  • The BAG on the other hand provides for strict isolation for sick people.

Care facilities in Switzerland are increasingly reaching their capacity limits. In order to be able to maintain their operations, they employ sick personnel, such as research by the «Sunday newspaper» demonstrate. Several nurses in a nursing home in the canton of Bern fell ill and showed symptoms typical of the corona. The test was positive. But instead of isolating themselves at home, their superiors called them to work in the home.

This is not an isolated case. Yvonne Ribi from the Swiss Professional Association of Nursing Personnel knows about institutions in several cantons where nurses were encouraged to work in old people’s homes despite positive test results and clear symptoms. “We have reports from different cantons,” says Ribi, who condemns this practice.

Isolation exceptions

The extraordinary measure was approved by the Bern Health Directorate, as was the case with the «Sunday newspaper» approved. The canton of Friborg has also approved the use of sick personnel. The authorities refer to the guidelines of the national center for infection prevention, Swissnoso. This provides for exceptions to isolation in the event of a relevant shortage of health personnel.

But this only applies to acute hospitals. “Other non-acute medical facilities such as old people’s homes should continue to follow the recommendations made by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH),” says Swissnoso’s guidelines. The BAG provides for strict isolation for sick people.

Do you or someone you know have trouble with the corona time?

(chk)

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