The Association of Directors and Managers of Social Services, a leader in the social services sector, has expressed some discomfort with the statements this Monday by Minister Margarita Robles. The Defense Minister reported on Monday that the Army has found corpses in nursing homes for various parts of the country, after having entered them to disinfect them from Covid-19 residues. José Manuel Ramírez, president of this association, fears that from this case the social workers will be singled out and their work will be “ruined”. Also that “it has been possible to elevate a specific case to category” because, in the vast majority, he says, caregivers “are leaving their skin” to stop the coronavirus epidemic. Ramírez points out that “the dependency sector has not been supported” and that they have been working “without resources” until now.
The Ministry of Defense has not specified in which residences the Army's Military Emergency Unit (UME) has found deceased elders who had not been duly notified. The State Attorney General's Office, after learning of the case and confirming it with the UME, has announced that it is going to open proceedings to investigate it “in order to determine the seriousness of the events and their possible criminal relevance.” The protocol for the management of patients deceased by Covid-19 establishes that the out-of-hospital actions must be limited “to the essential minimum” and these must be carried out by the funeral staff, who right now in areas like Madrid is collapsed.
José Manuel Ramírez considers Robles' statements “unfortunate” because “there are almost 200,000 people working in abandoned residences, without support, nor sanitary facilities, nor Individual Protective Equipment necessary to care for the elderly and dependents who live there.” He asks “not to criminalize” the workers of residences and other social services, but “to value them in the same way that they are considering themselves heroes and they are applauding all the people who are in Health.”
Nursing homes have become an important focus during the coronavirus crisis, especially in Madrid, due to uncontrolled outbreaks in several among the fragile population. The Ministry of Social Policies of the Community has declared to this newspaper to have learned by the press of the UME finding and not to tell them in which centers it has happened. Until last Friday, residences were not included in the priority distribution of prevention material such as masks, which is currently in the process of being reinforced throughout the State. The distribution of 300 million for Social Services was also approved. In an interview with eldiario.es, the director of the Imserso, Luis Barriga, also asked for respect for the residential social workers.
They ask to medicalize the residences and more resources
Other entities are less critical than the Association of Directors and Managers of Social Services with the statements of Minister Robles but also ask that the focus be put on the lack of means and protection of workers. The president of the General Council of Social Workers, Emiliana Vicente, affirms that, if this finding of corpses had happened in any center, it is “outrageous”. They recall that it is urgent to “medicalize” residences in order to care for the elderly, as well as to reinforce inspections “in public, concerted and private”.
The Council calls for serious state intervention: “Just as large hospitals like IFEMA have been carried out in a large format, similar measures must be taken in the case of residences, whose population is a target of the coronavirus.” “The social workers are saturated, like the health workers”, they point out from the Council, “they do not have the means and they have to protect themselves from being infected and from infecting the users. The Army is acting but we need focused solutions, these people cannot be dealt with transferring places like other patients “.
From another association, Pladigmare, which brings together some 300 relatives, users and workers in Madrid and who has been denouncing the situation of these centers in the Community during these weeks of health crisis, admit that they are “horrified and distressed” by this news. They also affirm “not understanding” why Defense does not specify in which residences it has happened.
The president of the State Coordination of Platforms in Defense of the Dependency Law, Aurelia Jerez, describes that the words of Minister Robles have fallen “like a bomb”. “Although we had been warning about the situation for some time,” he continues, and they had asked the Secretary of State for Social Rights “to study the situation of the residences” before the Covid-19 outbreak. They also blame the problems that are occurring in residences for “the lack of personnel and means”: “It is necessary for the State to be responsible for the care of people in situations of dependency. The communities have also not watched with sufficient diligence compliance with ratios “.
He also asks that the criticism of workers not be poured out, that “they leave their skin, without means of protection and for four euros, with insane ratios; we know of cases where two assistants have remained to attend to 70 elderly people. companies to always put their economic benefits ahead, and the communities to novelize “. He recalls that “users and workers have not been tested in residences where there was any case, which has caused practically general contagions.”
Last Sunday, eThe President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, announced that he will make private residences for the elderly available to all communities to “improve the living conditions of the elderly and reduce their possibility of contagion”