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“One nurse to look after 92 care home residents”

The situation in Belgian care homes because of the Covid surge is taking alarming proportions.  More and more staff are falling ill or are having to isolate.  Paul Cappelier, the president of the Belgian Federation of Care Workers, cited the example of a care home where one nurse had to take care of 92 residents. 

At the care home the care home manager got the nurse to come into work because two other head nurses were ill.  The nurse was obliged to come into work on a free day.  Otherwise, the residents would have been left without any care.

“There were two wings at the care home: one with 38 patients suffering from dementia and a second with 54 residents” Cappelier explains. 

The nurse asked to step in felt it was an irresponsible situation: one person looking after 92 residents.

“The director told the care worker to limit interventions to providing medication and insulin.  Care in care homes can no longer be provided in the best conditions.  I could tell you a hundred stories like this!”

Philippe Cappelier is calling for buddies to be deployed in care homes and geriatric wards at hospitals to deal with staff shortages in care for the elderly.    

Buddies are volunteers: “There’s no other option” says Cappelier “if you look at the vacancies.  There are not enough care workers and nurses available”.

“Often temping staff are called upon but that’s no fun for the residents! These people see new faces every day.  It’s better to see a familiar face and in this respect, buddies can provide support”. 

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