The Elderly Center in Ensanche de Vallecas has brought residents and their families upside down since well before COVID-19. Publicly owned, owned by the Community of Madrid, the repeated and serious breaches made the regional government consider already in February 2020 to terminate the contract to the then concessionaire, Alaria. The pandemic extended the deadlines, but on August 1 the new company, Centenari, finally took possession, which will enter 10.98 million euros until the end of 2023 for the service. The premiere has not been very promising: in the third week of the new era, the center – with a capacity of 160 places – has been left without a nurse for three days, according to the relatives of the inmates and confirmed by the Community of Madrid, which reduces the absence to two days.
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“I have lived through horrible things, but the nurse’s thing is already …”, María José Galván, daughter of Jacinta, a 92-year-old resident, remains speechless and acts as an unofficial spokesperson for the dozens of families who have encountered the absence of the person in charge of distributing pills and giving injections to the elderly who need them. “The nurse arrived on Monday morning, and when he saw what was there, he left,” says Gálvez. “What there was” is, according to the complaint, that the ratios of workers per patient are not met again. Neither with the new contract. This means, for example, that staff have given up using cranes to move obese residents due to lack of time.
The Ministry of Family, Social Policy and Youth, directed by Concepción Dancausa and on which the residence depends, confirms “a small personnel problem that [en la empresa] they circumscribe the afternoon of the 17th and the 18th “, caused by the nurse falling ill, according to this version.” They tell us that it is already resolved […] We are going to be especially vigilant, “says a spokesman, who points out that the new concessionaire has inherited the workforce from the previous one” with the conditions they had, which includes vacations. ”
Centenari also assures that the patients have been “perfectly cared for”, according to the Ministry, but the relatives argue that the responsibility has fallen on the nursing assistants and the pharmacy personnel, without competences to administer the medicines. “It is a danger, an abandonment. What if something happens?” Protests Galván, who assures that there are residents who have lacked medication.
The problems at the Ensanche de Vallecas residence have been making the families of those who live there for years, some 160 people, many of whom suffer from degenerative mental illnesses. The lack of means was such that cardboard was used as partitions against COVID-19. Before the coronavirus, the kitchen had already been temporarily closed, in 2019, after a visit from the television chef Alberto Chicote. The center was one of those included in the legal complaints of relatives of those who died during the first wave of the pandemic.
The company Aralia, founded by José Luis Ulibarri – an entrepreneur involved in the Gürtel plot, among other causes related to the corruption of the PP – has been replaced since August 1 by Centenari, born in Albacete and in the process of expansion. Since 2020 it has doubled the number of buildings it manages. The CAM tries to reassure: “The control exists, there are at least two inspection visits a year, at least.”