Ehpad, a matter of dignity



In this sluggish campaign, here is an electric shock which places an essential subject at the heart of the debate. Released this week, the book The Gravediggers (Fayard) brings serious accusations against Orpea, the world leader in accommodation for dependent elderly people. The group will soon have the opportunity to give its version: its director general is summoned next week to the ministry responsible for the autonomy of the elderly.

→ ANALYSIS. Abuse in nursing homes, a lasting electroshock?

Beyond the role of this or that, the investigation of the independent journalist Victor Castanet questions a whole system. The nursing home sector suffers from a multitude of ills. The diagnosis has been made for a long time. It is also striking to hear the reactions of the women and men who work in these establishments. Everyone says that this book, which is full of sordid anecdotes, does not reveal anything new: dozens of reports have already warned of the endemic lack of resources, insufficient staff, the low attractiveness of professions, the turnover , the constant pressure on staff.

Abuses and ill-treatment against the residents result in particular from the cynicism of some, guided by the sole logic of optimization and profit. But the public authorities also have their share of responsibility. Controls in nursing homes are insufficient, if not non-existent. The candidates will have to position themselves. But it would be a pity if they were only situated in the technocratic field (what funding, what organisation, etc.). Because the question that constitutes the backdrop of this debate is of another order: what real attention do we collectively pay to our elders? Or, to put it another way: are we really determined that everyone can age with dignity?

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