Residences, after the collapse






The impact of the pandemic with the arrival of the coronavirus has exposed the needs of Spanish health. More than 20,000 people died in residences in just a few months, highlighting the shortcomings of the current residence model. The Government has already started to review what improvements can be made. For this reason, the Ministry of Social Rights is working to be able to announce at the beginning of February a great pact what will you propose reform residences in Spain.

At the moment he has three tables open: the interterritorial, with the councilors of the autonomous communities (who are the ones who have the powers); the of companies and unions and finally another with Social Organizations. They intend to reach a minimum agreement to accredit the new residential centers.


Madrid pensioners demonstration

The changes also go through raising a transparency exercise. There will be a quality evaluation in all the centers that will be made public and will allow an evaluation by users and families. The director of IMSERSO, Luís Alberto Barriga, gives some detail of some of the aspects: “It will not be a Michelin guide. We have to catalog. Some are the minimum conditions to exist, you will accreditand. But the measure will not be based on the width of the doors, but based on the quality of life of the people “.

Never use the restraint as a system

Among the specific proposals that will approve the figure of the prohibition, except in exceptional cases, of the subjection of the elderly. “Never use the restraint as a system. That is a real outrage, “insists Barriga.

There will be more money

European funds, in Chapter 22, foresee an entry of 3,500 million as a shock plan “for the care economy”. Both administrations and companies agree on prioritize home care, given that eight out of ten older people prefer to continue being cared for at home.

Companies criticize inequalities between communities

In Spain, 89% of care from residences It is exercised by the private company. The largest companies are grouped in AESTE (State Association of Residential Services for the Elderly). Its general secretary, Jesús Cubero, wanted to clarify that during different waves the residents were secluded as a preventive measure: “Personally, if I have to choose between that freedom, or guarantee the right to life of people, I choose to guarantee the right to life “.

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Corporations expect more investment. But they complain that there is so much inequality at the time of finance residencies between autonomous communities. Euskadi pays per agreed place per person per day, 89.6 euros for each resident, and Castilla-La Mancha, 39.8 euros.

Family members ask to participate

Several family associations participate in the demonstration in favor of pensioners in Madrid. Miguel Vázquez, from the Platform for the Dignity of the Elderly in Residences (Pladigmare), is hopeful with the negotiationss: “Regarding the establishment of ratios. Regarding the model of residences, which must be smaller than the existing ones. Regarding the establishment of organs for the participation of family members, and regarding the creation of places of public residences “.

The companies have the business insured, because there is more demand than supply. In Spain there are about 330,000 people living in residences, however, there are still about 75,000 on the waiting list, “says Velázquez.

Manuel Rico, research director at the digital newspaper infoLibre, published in March the book Shame! The Residence Scandal. He wanted to study if there is a relationship between large residences, of large companies and a greater number of deaths during the Pandemic: “The impact in the first wave, mortality was clearly higher in the residences that belonged to these large groups. having the residences larger than the average, precisely for an economic question “.

Rico is critical with the fact that some of the big companies who manage residences in Spain have their headquarters in tax havens like Jersey. “The names of the investors should be known, since they live off public money,” says Rico. In 2019, the administrations contributed 1,895 million to the private sector, with funds from the Dependency Law.

I remember the hardest moments

Esperanza Pérez left the Santiago Rusiñol public center in Aranjuez after passing the COVID and the post-COVID stage: “I’d rather be here on the street, than in a residence where they annul your personality. Once the director called me and said: You are in an Ins-ti-tu-tion, “says Pérez.

Beatriz Cano, has lived for ten years in the DOMUS Vi de Usera residence. He was able to survive loneliness during the different waves of the pandemic, thanks to recording a daily video for the magazine “65 y más”. It has a single room and internet. She says that sometimes, if she wanted to go out, she had to notify the police, because, according to her, the center interpreted the Community’s protocols in a restrictive way. Now he has decided to present himself to the User Council: “The company is going to face me. It is very difficult to regain lost dignity. You are leaving, you are leaving. I am working on it. Facing residential care. And to claim life, because beyond physical dependence, we have life. “

My mother did not die of COVID, but she died of grief.

Dolors Gonzalo, of the Estels Silenciats organization, of relatives of residents who was born in the networks in Catalonia to give voice to those who were detained, believes that his mother, Montserrat, died exhausted after so much isolation: “My mother did not die of COVID, but he died of grief. The emotional health of the residents was not taken into account. “

You have to change the model of residence. The one there is does not work

Gonzalo totally blame the administrations and also the center. From March to December, Montserrat could only leave the residence to go to the doctor: “You have to change the model of residence. The one you have does not work.”

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No hospital care

Several testimonies confirm that at the beginning of the first wave, both in Catalonia and in Madrid, there were sick residents who were deprived of being able to be treated in a hospital.

The relatives of Carmen, who died on April 13 in a residence in Carabanchel, complain about the lack of information. They tried for days to have a video conference. They called them the same day that their mother died: “Our surprise was when we saw the certificate that said death due to possible COVID. We did not understand why he had not been treated. That she had been transferred to a public hospital, that she would have had the treatment she would have needed. “

Carmen’s family tells us that His complaint to the prosecution has been successful.

Choose whether to be treated

Several testimonies review what happened at the Bertran y Oriola residence in Barcelona. As soon as the first infections were detected, many personnel took the leave. Of 91 residents, 85 tested positive. The day the firefighters disinfected the center, they regrouped the elderly and it could be fatal.

Kati’s father, Vicente, died there, without being taken to a hospital. She wonders at what point your father lost the rights: “How much he will have suffered, without having been given something palliative, something to alleviate his suffering “-

A worker, Claudia García, therapist. She comments that when the neighborhood Primary Care took command of the health management of the center, the workers were hopeful. But a very hard time came. They were made to choose which residents were to be treated and which were not, based on their possibility of survival and the quality of life they might have if they overcome COVID.

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Family members filed a complaint. However, the prosecution closed the case.

The former counselor for social policies of Madrid, Alberto Reyero, recalls that the Ministry of Health developed protocols in which, to avoid collapse in hospitals, it was suggested to relegate the population with cognitive impairment or motor disability: “We will not let the elderly who go in a wheelchair enter a hospital? I think it is unethical. I said that the protocols were not ethical, and possibly they were not legal. ”

No to the investigation commissions in the Autonomous Parliaments

Reyero, – who resigned in November – is hurt because the Madrid Assembly has closed the open investigation commission.

All the regional parliaments, with the exception of Castilla-León, have decided not to reopen investigation commissions on what happened in the residences.

During the COVID pandemic, there were 6,373 deaths in Madrid residences, 5,624 in Catalonia. 4,125 in Castilla-León.

51 criminal complaints filed

In total, there are 51 criminal complaints in progress and pending 223. In the civil sphere, 921 proceedings have been initiated, and there are 546 pending.

The Attorney General for the elderly, María José Segarra, explained that protocols are being investigated. Assesses the confinement during the different waves, with the residents unable to leave their room, noting that this could lead to a deterioration in their physical and mental health,

If there was a violation of rights in the residences

Prosecutors comment that in the early days they had to act as mediators between center directors and administrations, to obtain resources and personnel.

The prosecution wants to emphasize that it is available to any user, worker or family who detect any type of situation of violation of rights.


Pladigmare platform at the Madrid pensioners’ demonstration


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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