With the approach of the end of year celebrations, the government is a tightrope on the front line of nursing homes. It strives to reassure the health situation and the freedom to come and go of residents, without prohibiting the possible interruption of visits. “I invite directors to suspend visits and outings only in an exceptional, proportional and temporary manner”, hammered Brigitte Bourguignon, Monday December 20. The Minister for Autonomy recognizes that “In places, at present, residents cannot receive visits, cannot go out with family or participate in festive events, which have been canceled.” To family groups who denounce the proliferation of « reconfinements », she replies that establishments that take “Disproportionate measures” are “Marginal”.
The minister recalls that only 995 nursing home residents were detected positive for Covid-19 from December 6 to 12, that 33 of them died, against “Sometimes a thousand during the second wave”. Over 85% of residents received three doses of the vaccine. Ehpad therefore have a “Vaccine shield” effective.
On Monday, the ministry released a two-page text to nursing homes in view of the end of the year celebrations, which encourages the maintenance of family visits and outings, in the “Strict respect for barrier gestures”. “More restrictive measures can only be taken on the strict condition that the health situation of the establishment is particularly degraded [le développement d’un cluster, soit au moins trois cas positifs, au sein de l’établissement par exemple]. » Out of 7,500 nursing homes, only 4%, or 300, were in a cluster situation on December 19.
However, the document published on Monday supplements the ministerial protocol for August without modifying it. However, the text published this summer – still in force – has led several regional health agencies (ARS) to suggest or support the suspension of visits. According to the August protocol, the health situation “May lead management to put in place additional protective measures”.
Thus, on December 7, the ARS of Hauts-de-France wrote to the directors of nursing homes to tell them that they can “Implement additional protection measures until the cluster is considered to be under control. The limitation and / or supervision of visits can be part of these measures ”. Also in December, the ARS Center-Val de Loire recommended to certain establishments that are victims of a cluster the interruption of visits, the end of activities, family or city outings, meals in the room, while waiting “Virus sequencing” to verify that it was not the Omicron variant. In Occitania, some nursing homes have also suspended visits on the basis of instructions from the ARS.
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Ehpad: the government calls for the visits to be maintained