The Community of Madrid has received over the last four years more than 1.4 million euros in penalties imposed on nursing homes. About a hundred centers were fined for violating the regional regulations that regulate regional social services. The content of the files issued between 2017 and 2020 include episodes of all kinds: neglected users, deficient facilities, expired medication, restraints that are not prescribed, lack of information for family members, residences that are not registered and little privacy.
Investigations of deaths in residences point to workers and bypass promoters of the protocols
Three centers – Las Mercedes, Hestia and Sierra de Kanaima – accumulate the six highest fines imposed between 2017 and 2020, ranging between 132,000 and 42,000 euros. After several inspections in the first residence, the Ministry workers warned that there was no hot water in the bathrooms: the management of the center had “cut off” the supply, claiming that the residents used to leave the tap running. Another point that focused the inspectors’ attention was the precariousness of the facilities of this 25-seat center. “It is found that the center offers a general appearance of decadence, with a grimy appearance, old and obsolete furniture and general disorder in various rooms,” they warned already in 2016, four years after the worst pandemic in a century emerged, to issue the sanction.
In another visit to that center, they found that between dinner, which took place around seven in the afternoon, and breakfast, scheduled at 8 in the morning, residents were not offered “any type of food during the night period. , not even to diabetics, except promptly upon request by the user “. The inspections certified long compulsory fasts: “more than twelve hours elapse between the evening meal and the morning meal the next day.” Given the events described, the Ministry chose to revoke the authorization for this center to operate for ten years and disqualify its director for not being “registered in the registry” of managers of social services centers.
Information obtained by the transparency portal
Until now, and always thanks to requests to the transparency portal, the list of sanctioned elderly centers and the main reason had been obtained, but there had not been access to the content of all the files prepared by the regional inspection, documents in which The weaknesses that the network of arranged and private residences in the region had before the pandemic are detailed. After the events recorded in these files – between March and May 2020 – 18% of users (7,600) of residences in Madrid died. The unexpected spread of the virus caused these centers to become the main focus of the health emergency.
Throughout the hundred of files issued by the Department of Social Policies, episodes of accidents of residents, neglected users, deficient facilities, expired medication, restraints that are not prescribed, lack of information to relatives, residences that are not registered and scarce privacy for inmates. In some cases, such as that of the Hestia residence, the results of the inspections led to the closure of the center after verifying “serious deficiencies in care” that have occurred “persistently” for four years, as reported by elDiario.es.
The documents also include specific episodes, although the events described have a devastating emotional consequence for the family of the affected person. The Palacios center, located in the municipality of Ciempozuelos, was sanctioned in 2017 with 7,200 euros for not notifying the relatives of a resident who was referred to the hospital. The user of this residence – which has 84 beds – died “completely alone” in the health complex, according to the claim presented by one of his children. The director of the center acknowledged the responsibility of the residence and admitted that “due to carelessness” no one notified their relatives.
An old woman ran away and passed away
The lack of information to families also led to fines. For example, a claim made because an old woman was not alerted to the fall of the Magan residence (Torrejón de la Calzada) is one of the events that led to a 6,000-euro fine. “The resident had bruises on [la] expensive “but the relatives were not alerted to the incident until they visited the user in person, says one of the files issued in 2018. Until the loved ones did not communicate this situation, the center had no record in the official records of the coup.
In the same file, this last center was also fined for placing, without being prescribed, an abdominal belt on a user and keeping four others with restraints “tied with bandages” – the text picks up – “instead of the corresponding closing magnet” . This issue, that of non-scheduled fixations, is very recurrent in the hundred sanctions issued in the last four years. Several cases of restraints that do not match what the residents have prescribed are collected.
With 18,000 euros the episode that jumped in January 2019 to the media was settled. Isabel, 85 years old and suffering from Alzheimer’s, ran away from the Montesalud residence (Las Rozas). His body appeared the next day a few kilometers from the center and with symptoms of frostbite, according to information published by The world. The resolution of the Department of Social Policies of the Community of Madrid concludes that this woman “left the center through the two doors of the main entrance and the gate that gives access to the street.” “Neither the doors nor the gate had any operative device that would prevent the free exit from the center,” the inspectors found.
That same year, another serious accident occurred at the Geriatel residence. A user “with congenital bilateral blindness and hearing impairment” rushed down the elevator shaft. The user was unlucky and approached the elevator door while they were performing maintenance, without any “protective measures” being placed at any time. The incident resulted in several injuries, but the victim did not lose “consciousness at any time”. 3,600 euros paid by the center to the Ministry for these events.
The cases of elderly people who escape from the center are also present in the infractions detected by the workers of the Community’s social area. La Merced de los Peñascales, one of the centers that suffered from this situation, claimed that the law does not impose “an obligation of individualized and, even less, permanent surveillance” of the users of the center. Even so, he ended up paying 14,000 euros for the file issued in 2017 against the center, after the inspector verified the escape of a resident and saw that some users did not have staff nearby supervising them.
A similar episode was experienced in the geriatric center of Hortaleza, in this case the user who was milling around the street “was picked up by a taxi passing through the area” and transferred by the driver “to the home of his relatives.” 12,000 euros assumed the company in 2019 for these events. Two years before, they had already faced a fine of 7,000 euros.
Dirt and lack of privacy
Separate chapter deserve the conditions of the facilities and the cleanliness of the users in some of the sanctioned centers. The Ministry workers who approached the Archbishop Morcillo Center (Soto del Real) – sanctioned with 24,000 euros – detected that “all the rooms visited had stains on the walls” and observed “dirt and organic remains on the pillowcases of the beds in the bedrooms “.
Among the examples in the files issued in the last four years, the description they make of the Jardines de Navas is striking: “[Un trabajador] performs the following tasks without changing gloves at any time: provides five rests, makes three diaper changes and empties a urinary catheter “. And he continues with the description of what was found:” The acting inspector observes that the floor of the room is sticky, there are flies in the common rooms and the smell of urine in the main room. “15,000 euros paid by the center in 2018 for the events described.
According to the documentation provided by the Community of Madrid, there is a pattern that is repeated in several centers regarding the time the day starts for some users. The Ministry of Social Policies has reproached some residences for waking up inmates before 7 in the morning. During one of the visits by the regional staff to Orpea Carabanchel, two users “clean and dressed” were detected at that time. “As stated by the director to the inspector, the families have not been informed about the fact that their relatives are raised at 6.30 am”, includes the sanctioning file issued in 2019.
“Starting at 6.30 am, the night shift staff begins to lift and clean up to a total of 10 residents, according to their assigned duties,” details the resolution issued against Alsean Retiro de Aravaca. Regarding the management of this center, the inspector also highlights the low temperatures recorded in some facilities during a visit made in December 2017: “In the room called Infirmary, a temperature of 17.6 centigrade is measured. The user of this room states feel cold, the supplementary heat electrical appliance not working either “.
On this matter, the company alleged that the “opening and closing keys of the heating” circuit “are sometimes manipulated by the residents themselves” and that its staff did not receive “any notice or complaint” for this matter. In relation to the early rises of the elderly, they alleged that they were doing it on the users’ own initiative because they begin “to demand such cleaning tasks from the staff” at early hours and are carried out “due to the possible risk of falls,” the text continues. The Community maintained its argument. The center was sanctioned in 2019 with 35,000 euros.
Lack of privacy is another of the cases that are repeated in the inspection records. “It is observed in one of the collective bathrooms on the ground floor, next to the dining room, an auxiliary serving two residents who are sitting on the toilets with the doors open, so that they can be seen either when entering the same or well from the outside, reflected in the mirror “, related the worker of the Ministry of Social Policies in his visit to Orpea Sanchinarro. The center faced a fine of 10,800 euros in 2019.
Finally, the inspectors also warn of cases of ghost residences, centers in which “social services for the elderly are developed, lacking the mandatory administrative authorization and without meeting the functional and material requirements established in the regulations in this regard.” 60,000 euros were paid for this reason by the managers of two centers located in the municipality of Los Santos de la Humosa.
Almost two years ago, and before the pandemic broke out, the regional government assured that it would make this documentation public. Never happened. Former Minister of Social Policies Alberto Reyero, former regional deputy for Citizens, responded in an interview in The country that both these documents and the inspection records were going to be available on a website so that families could see which residences were “passing the controls.” From the Ministry, currently managed by the PP, they ensure that “the Community scrupulously complies with current regulations on this matter.”
Despite the announcements of the regional Executive, elDiario.es has had to claim this information before the Transparency Council so that the Community of Madrid finally provides partial access to these documents, since the Ministry of Social Policies has crossed out parts of the files alleging a “disassociation of personal data”.