Saturday, September 25

Scabies, rats, bed bugs and inattention in centers for the elderly in the Canary Islands: “The shock is indescribable”

The Diputación del Común has prepared a report on the state of the centers for the elderly in the Canary Islands, corresponding to 2019 and which has already been in the hands of Parliament since November, in which it describes lack of maintenance, poor hygiene and little attention to residents.

The document, advanced by Cadena Ser and to which Europa Press has had access, has been prepared from 25 visits to centers on the islands of Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Lanzarote and La Palma between February and December 2019, and they add up to almost 1,300 user places. In statements to Radio Club Tenerife, María Milagros Fuentes, author of the report, has reported that during the visit to a center the inspectors realized that the residents were not speaking, and that the next day, when taking data, they realized that “they were all shot, with medication.”

This report, which Fuentes has said, was provided to Parliament last November, also draws attention to the menus in the residences, with a preponderance of “pre-prepared, pre-cooked meals”, and that the residents “eat alone, in a corner of the room and with his back to the rest of the activity of the center “.

The Provincial Council clarifies that the report is still “unfinished” because the coronavirus pandemic appeared and highlights that while some centers have collaborated, others have shown “absolute contempt” for the work of the institution’s technicians.

It even highlights that the Ministry of Social Rights of the Government of the Canary Islands has not responded to their requests, the last in August of last year, and there are also very few visits to the residences of their own inspectors.

The report emphasizes that in many of the centers there is a “lack of rigor” in the work, there is no monitoring or evaluation of the residents and many of the tasks are carried out in an “improvised” manner.

In addition, the principles of respect and personal autonomy are not fulfilled – there are few individual rooms and one of the residence of La Palma there are up to more than six people together – and the common spaces are usually spacious and always have the television on, which means that that hinders social interaction.

Rooms without light and little humanized

There are also rooms without light, in semi-basements, with access barriers and others without the accessory equipment such as a wardrobe or bedside table.

To all these deficiencies is added the lack of network facilities for telecommunications and the absence of devices for the use of people in their rooms, thus responding to the need for connectivity “in an intimate, safe and stable way.”

“There are few centers that achieve that the rooms are areas as well as comfortable, humanized spaces and with a pleasant appearance to feel like a home,” the report details.

In the majority there are maintenance defects such as dampness, chipped wood, kitchens without mosquito nets or breaks and in one center, even a kitchen was open to an area that functioned as a waste dump.

During the visits, the technicians of the Diputación del Común have verified outbreaks of scabies, dirty bathrooms and the presence of rats, cockroaches, ants and bedbugs, as well as remains of previous meals in the dining room, hairdressing waste, butts and mattresses stacked in the halls.

It also collects that there are people who “are kept with stains of food scraps, without changing clothes sprinkled during the rest of the day.”

“Indescribable shock”

“The shock produced by finding this lack of hygiene and sanitation in the centers is indescribable, without being detected by the administrations in charge of inspecting and ensuring the functioning of the resources for the elderly, and, in turn, without being revealed by relatives or other people who access the facilities. We appeal to the social responsibility of working for a minimum of well-being of the elderly, “the report states.

In all the centers consulted by the Diputación del Común, the functions of accommodation, maintenance and laundry are fulfilled, but health care and occupational activities, for example, only in 61% of cases, and occupational therapy, only 35% , and in many cases, without qualified personnel.

Regarding medical assistance, it states that, according to the information provided by the centers, medical visits are almost a year apart and, in the case of an acute episode, only emergency professionals attend.

“Who supervises the restraints or how situations of institutional abuse are detected? Who knows the menu? Who carries out the continuous assessment of functional training and mobility?”

Another aspect in which the report of the Diputación del Común stops is that, in five of the residences visited, the mandatory individual file of each resident is limited to “a mere folder with documentation of the people, without professional evaluations and , therefore, without monitoring and evolution of the promotion of personal autonomy “.

Most of the centers claim that the problems “are solved by talking” or that there are “no complaints”, and that there is an “irrelevant, irrelevant” activity, in terms of complaint sheets or suggestion boxes.

“Commodification” of care

The Diputación del Común attributes the current state of nursing homes to the “boom in commercialization” of residential care, which has led to treatment limitations, loneliness of residents, lack of qualified workers and precarious and poorly paid jobs.

“It is too late to change what has happened but it is time for reflection, decision-making and planning for the impact on health and long-term services for older people; they must recognize and address the particular challenges they face, including their ability to access to treatments, medical and social care, the care model of the residence, itself the model of society “, he concludes.

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