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Amnesty International: “Human rights of care home residents violated”

The Flemish Agency for Care and Health has responded to a devastating report from Amnesty International on the care provided to care home residents during the corona emergency.  The agency says that with hindsight it would have made different choices.

Amnesty International says that care home residents did not receive all the care that was due and that the human rights of residents were violated.  The report speaks of a lack of basic protection but also of cases of social isolation and sheer neglect.

Amnesty accuses the authorities of acting too late in the day and not in an adequate way.  As a result the fundamental rights of residents in care homes were neglected. Care homes were insufficiently prepared for the pandemic.  Staff possessed a guide on how to deal with infectious diseases but no protocol to deal with a sudden outbreak like the Covid pandemic.

Until August test capacity for staff was inexistant and they were obliged to work without proper protective equipment.  The director of one care home told the organisation protective equipment could only be used when patients tested positive, but there weren’t enough tests to prove who was and who wasn’t corona positive.

Moreover sick residents were not always admitted to hospital.  Figures from Doctors without Borders suggest only 57% of seriously ill patients could be taken to hospital.  Unclear triage guidelines are blamed for residents not being admitted to hospital.  As a result some residents died an untimely death. 

Due to extra medical pressure on staff residents did not receive a sufficient level of daily care with regard to hygiene, meals and social contacts. 

Amnesty also criticises “chaotic communication by the various governments”.  As a result new rules were not clearly communicated.  Moreover, checks by inspection services were insufficient.

The Flemish Agency for Care and Health argues that given the means that were at its disposal at the time the choices made were the best choices.

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