Originally a denial of death
In France, talking about nursing homes means talking about the end of life and all the suffering suffered by the elderly as well as that of their families.
A sensitive or even taboo subject that illustrates a social phenomenon where we tend to hide death so as not to have to worry about the many problems encountered during this last phase of life.
To equate nursing homes with places of death is to deny the quality and relevance of the French model in this area. This much criticized model is however the one that is exported the most internationally and to see it being trampled on in the public square goes far beyond the simple desire to denounce scandalous practices.
The media have very clearly taken the path of sensationalism and simplification to tend towards an almost automatic Ehpad bashing as soon as a new case emerges.
However, it is advisable not to generalize a phenomenon which concerns only a few hundred establishments out of some 7,500 listed in France. However, to say this does not amount to enshrining the policy of the ostrich but to putting these serious events in their rightful place.
These recent cases come despite everything to highlight a form of deaf but real discrimination that is ageism. This real scourge must encourage society as a whole to redefine the image it has of the elderly in order to put an end to these unacceptable behaviours.
The cost of nursing homes: a false debate
Among the multitude of criticisms formulated against nursing homes, the question of cost very regularly comes up at the center of the discussions as if to further justify the need to condemn the cases of mistreatment and the dysfunctions observed.
These scandals somehow spread the idea that nursing homes financially exploit the end of life when it is very difficult to make a profit today, including for private establishments.
For example, in 2020, the average price of a nursing home, private or public, in France was 2,004 euros per month, i.e. a median rate of around 60 euros per day and per resident. It should be understood that behind this price hides a multitude of services, all as essential as each other: medical care, activities, workshops, among others.
Without forgetting the maintenance and improvement of infrastructures according to the standards in force. For these reasons, the price, varying from one nursing home to another, is not excessive.
Thus, questioning the principle of the private nursing home because of its higher cost is not necessarily very appropriate, knowing that they only represent 20% of all establishments on French soil.
It could even logically increase if we deploy more personnel and technological means to improve reception conditions for the elderly. We really need to campaign for more technology within nursing homes in order to best assist caregivers in their missions.
Whether one is for or against, this subject will inevitably be the subject of very strong attention among professionals in the sector in the near future.
A responsibility shared with the State
Pointing out the shortcomings of nursing homes is one thing, but it is time for public opinion to realize the major role of the state in their management.
In particular, the regional health agencies (ARS) whose role with nursing homes, both private and public, concerns both the management of care and the allocation of budgets or the granting of approval to open an establishment. .
The State is, so to speak, omnipresent and no one can ignore its responsibility in the current situation.
He himself cannot be surprised at the actions within the establishments concerned. The problems raised are not new and we cannot be satisfied with a situation where waiting for the next scandal represents the only opportunity to improve things.
It is up to him to fully play his role and become more involved in strengthening the resources allocated to the nursing homes and greatly enhancing the work of the staff who struggle every day at all levels.
*Founded in 2017 by Philippe Kaplan, Kaspard’s mission is to improve the daily quality of life of residents of medico-social establishments and care staff at work thanks to a solution for detecting and preventing falls among seniors . This complete, contactless and non-intrusive fall detection, prevention and analysis solution is a key issue for everyone’s well-being.