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(en) France, Union Communiste Libertaire - Webdito UCL Toulouse and surroundings, Elderly and Dependent: Don't Let Them Die at the Hands of Capitalist Scavengers (fr, it, pt)[machine translation]

Date Tue, 19 May 2020 08:39:23 +0300

The fact that the elderly are more likely to contract the disease does not in itself explain the tremendous death rate in nursing homes. The frenzied privatization of the state and the budget cuts paid by employees and residents are also responsible for the deterioration in the quality of care and the lack of equipment and personnel. ---- The Covid-19 epidemic hitting the world particularly affects the oldest. If at the beginning the figures announced by the government only concerned hospitals, many voices were raised so that the count also concerns retirement homes. To date, more than 8,300 people have died in nursing homes, or almost 1.5% of the population of these establishments. The situation is different depending on retirement homes and some have been particularly affected, such as in Mougins where a third of residents died from Covid-19 [1], or in Saint-Germain-en-Laye where deaths represent a quarter of residents [2]. But the situation is also dramatic in many others, despite the hard work of the staff. All these people died far from their loved ones because of confinement but not only. And there are many complaints from families.

A screed of lead on these deaths
Indeed, these were often warned late and sometimes indirectly by the press. In reality, it is a screed of lead that has been placed on these retirement homes: families have thus received false news about their loved ones, via retirement homes who told them that everything was fine while they were sick , on respirators or hospitalized. Worse, during the deaths the causes of death were not always revealed immediately to relatives.

The reasons for this omerta are due to two reasons: on the one hand the Regional Health Agencies (ARS) which are the local intermediaries of the Ministry of Health and who, in a technocratic logic, asked the retirement homes not to broadcast this information ; on the other hand, on the side of certain private groups, a logic of marketing, within the framework of a competitive market where the residents and their families are the "clients" and where it is a question of showing good image at all costs by deliberately masking what is wrong [3].

A number of deaths that question
Another question: how to explain this massacre ? The argument of the age and frailty of the public concerned is not sufficient. In many retirement homes, the employees alerted the authorities very early on to the lack of protective equipment or personnel to organize confinement and body distances in these establishments. Some have even been dismissed for raising the alarm [4]. There too, the amateurism of the public or private authorities was total and is undoubtedly responsible for this high number of deaths.

Responsibilities will need to be determined and those responsible will be accountable. Because, beyond the Covid-19 epidemic, what highlights this scandal is the carelessness that reigns in these establishments to the detriment of the people in care and the employees.

A state-organized privatization ...
Since 1997 the state has organized rampant privatization of retirement homes. First, by creating a competitive market and opening it up to private for-profit companies. Then, by operating in a tendering logic and by imposing public management standards (evaluation, performance, austerity) which have favored the emergence and development of private for-profit establishments to the detriment of public establishments such as those private non-profit [5]who were subject to a performance logic. Large private groups thus have a growing hand on the 7200 EPHAD market and represent around a third of these. The market is juicy: thus for a nursing home, of 121 beds, private for-profit in the south of France the annual profit is 400,000 euros before tax [3]! No wonder that pension funds are investing in this market: absolute cynicism of capitalism when retirement savings are used to exploit old dependence ! And while we count our deaths the leaders of private groups settle in the greatest fortunes of France [6].

... On the backs of employees and residents
This privatization through the development of the lucrative private offer and the development of a performance logic in other establishments has a double consequence.

On the one hand, the working conditions are deplorable: in the EHPAD there are three times more accidents at work declared than in the national average because of trying working conditions (shift schedules, pressure on the output, understaffing ) in the context of the development of precarious contracts (subsidized contracts, temporary work) for a sector which hires 87% of women, often single mothers [7]. On the other hand, on the reception and living conditions of the people accommodated. Some nursing homes have a budget of only 4 euros per resident for all meals for the day [3], the pressure on output leads the employees · es to have to rationalize in an industrial way the time of toilet, meal, etc. This staff therefore has no leeway to establish social ties with the residents, whereas these elderly people are by relative or complete isolation, in a certain lack of affective relationship. Finally, this privatization leads nearly half of the EHPAD, like any business, to lie, to deceive its "customers" on the tariffs or the services in a logic of pressurization of the "customer" [8].

Socialization of the EPHAD: for a public service for dependent elderly people
These data highlight the deeply deadly logic of capitalism. The capitalists, whether they act in private groups or in the service of a bourgeois state, watch only for their profits. And in the context of an aging population, they find a way to make money on the backs of people at the end of life or dependent ! No sense of dignity or respect for death or old age in these scavengers !

This is why it is urgent to end the privatization of these EHPAD, the logic of austerity and performance imposed by the State. We must achieve the socialization of these establishments and the development of a public service of old age and dependency, where employees, residents and their families would decide themselves the means to be implemented to satisfy the basic needs of this fragile population.

In the same way it is just as urgent to develop a consequent public service of the home help for all and all those who wish and can stay at home while in this sector, managed by big associations within the framework of budgetary austerity, employees are subject to very high precariousness. This example shows once again that it will be beneficial to get rid of capitalist predation.

Profits against our health, whatever our age, together against capital and united in the face of the health crisis !

Toulouse Group and surroundings of UCL on May 2, 2020

[1] Ehpad: the dead, families and the wall of silence , by Béatrice Jérôme, Lorraine de Foucher and Sofia Fischer for Le Monde on April 23, 2020

[2] Families fight in front of mute Ehpad directions , by Mathilde Goanec for Médiapart April 8, 2020

[3] Abuse in a retirement home: "The business of seniors is unforgiving" , by Marc Payet for the Parisian on February 26, 2019

[4] Two nurses "fired" from an Toulouse nursing home because they were asking for masks, the police intervened , by Géraldine Jammet for La Dépêche on April 21, 2020

[5] The process of privatization of the accommodations sector for the elderly , by Ilona and Laura Delouette Nirello in Management and Journal of Medical Economics 2016/7 (Vol. 34) on 1 stMarch 2017

[6] CHALLENGES ranking of fortunes in France: owners of EHPAD operators in good position , by EHPAD.com

[7] Distressed old age in nursing homes , by Philippe Baqué for Le Monde Diplomatique in May 2019

[8] One in two retirement homes deceives its clients , by Mathilde Golla for Le Figaro on March 17, 2014

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