Scared and Forgotten (nd current)

Photo: dpa | Sebastian Gollnow

During lockdown, two thirds of those cared for at home suffered from fear and isolation, and almost a third of them never left the house or apartment. Of the family carers, 84 percent found the pandemic stressful. These are the results of a study by the Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences, which the social association VdK commissioned and presented at a press conference on Monday.

More than two thirds of the 16,000 respondents stated that they had suffered greatly from the psychological stress during this time. At the same time, many urgently needed relief offers were no longer available. 81 percent of those in need of care and 87 percent of caregivers avoided contact with third parties.

Although around 80 percent of those in need of care are cared for at home, politicians have done nothing for these approximately three million people affected, according to the social association VdK. “The grand coalition put up rescue packages worth millions for the nursing homes, but there was at least applause and bonuses for the nursing staff,” said VdK President Verena Bentele at the press conference. »Once again there was nothing for the caring relatives at home. Politicians thus once again confirmed: The carers and those being cared for at home are not only those who have been forgotten by the pandemic, their concerns are permanently neglected. “

Many people would like to be cared for at home in their familiar surroundings and not in the home when they get older. And according to the eleventh social code, outpatient care has priority over inpatient care. “But that is never reflected in the legislation,” criticized Bentele. For example, in the last nursing reform that was initiated and approved by Minister of Social Affairs Hubertus Heil (SPD) and Minister of Health Jens Spahn (CDU). “Here too, it has to be said, once again, care at home was completely neglected and criminally forgotten.”

The increase in all care benefits to the amount of 1.8 billion euros had already been announced, but was not implemented during the care reform in July. Actually, this should compensate for the loss in value of the past few years for all care services. The VdK criticizes the withholding money to finance the improvements in the inpatient area. “That is why we are now going to sue for the increase in the care allowance that has been collected, among other things – to the Federal Constitutional Court if necessary,” announced Bentele as a consequence of the “political ignorance”.

According to the VdK, care at home must be professionalized, after all, there would be a lack of places in inpatient facilities to accommodate all those in need of care. Accordingly, there is often no other option than care at home. In addition, there is the steadily growing shortage of skilled nurses.

Studies have shown time and again that caring relatives are physically and psychologically stressed, and often they also suffer from a precarious financial situation. The VdK demands the introduction of a carer time. With this, caregivers should have a legal right to partial or full release from their work. In addition, they should receive a kind of wage replacement benefit, a carer allowance, analogous to parental allowance. In terms of pension law, there is also a need for better recognition for those who care for people at home. “The people who care for or are cared for at home don’t have a union,” Bentele explained. The people who care at home don’t strike. “This is precisely why recognition under pension law is so extremely important.” This is the only way to prevent them from being affected by old-age poverty if they reduce their regular working hours to care for their relatives or even quit their jobs.

Although so many people are cared for at home or care for them at home, the issue does not play a role in the federal election campaign. “That is really astonishing,” Bentele summed up on Monday. The fact that this group has been seen so little in recent years has a lot to do with the fact that they do their job in silence at home and, unlike nurses from large institutions, do not take to the streets. In the next coalition agreement, care at home must be reflected as one of the most important political issues. If there are no adequate improvements, “we will definitely go to the barricades,” says Bentele.

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