The freedom of the elderly and people with disabilities in the Guarantor’s Report (21/06/2022)

“In the report presented to the Parliament, the Guarantor has emphasized the issue of the protection of the elderly who are in care centers, highlighting the risk that can be confused with the replacement of the will of the person, regardless of the affective and relational ”, comments the president of Fish Vincenzo Falabella. The Guarantor has paid close attention to the fact that in the last two years, “the sheltered residence has limited, in some circumstances, the closure, to the point of taking the form of a real deprivation of liberty of our elders, and, more generally, of fragile people “:” That is why we express our satisfaction with the already consolidated action of the Guarantor for the protection of the personal freedom of people with disabilities, while waiting for the synergistic and complex work carried out in in recent years it can continue with the same force of innovation in the coming years. The hope is to continue working together with the associations and the Guarantor itself to safeguard the principle of self-determination of people and to ensure that these structures are safe, controlled, open and, above all, respectful of the freedom of our elderly and of all fragile people “.

Here are some excerpts from the Report on the Elderly, People with Disabilities, RSA and Residential Structures.

“Certainly, even where the systems have borne the impact, the cost has been very high and in many cases still has its bill: in nursing homes, restrictions on family visits often remain virtually unchanged. The return to normalcy is still long and is hampered by obstacles, especially as a result of defensive decisions taken in the name of preventing the spread of the virus. The different perspective of jointly maintain the protection of the health and integrity of other human rights, including the right to maintain emotional ties, essential in particular for the psychophysical well-being of the person, it should lead to the capture of proposals and ideas that shake the traditional way of conceiving these places ”, page 115.

“In the last two years even nursing homes, closed by health prevention measures, have lived – and in many cases still live – an experience of immeasurable time and meaningless place. Restrictions have marked the daily flow of time within them according to the measure of emptiness: the absence of treatment activities and socio-affective relationships with the outside world have disproportionately aggravated the suffering of people, already very vulnerable. And even when life time abroad has once again been measurable as ordinary sociality, time within the RSA has remained, in fact, characterized by deprivation. Non-time always struggles to change over time, measurable and meaningful “, page 122

Therefore, unresolved critical issues need to be addressed, such as limiting family visits in the name of health protection.the lack of adequate spaces to ensure the confidentiality of meetings with relatives, the preservation of the impediments and restrictions of access of caregivers, the continued absence of organizational conditions that allow physical contact between the family and the elderly, with serious results of cognitive regression and finally, in some cases, the deprivation of any social activity to avoid contagion with the consequent loss of significance of the passage of time for the person “, page 228.

“Another node that also affects the care and assistance of services that operate in residential structures should also be addressed. It refers to operators and, in general, to caregivers working in residential structures. It is also part of performance ethics the protection of caregivers, the freedom to choose a profession by vocation, a problem especially alive in the current reality of our country, given the global conditions of the labor market and the tendency to entrust the work of care as a “residual occupation” “, they only offer people who are in difficult working conditions, often immigrants. Therefore, it is not only the user’s right to personalized care, but also the caregiver’s right to have their work recognized, also through specific training and effective protection against the risk of burnout and other pathologies specific to the caregiver. profession “, page 229

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