In spring of this year, the Ombudsman's Office launched a campaign "Life in a care home – what's it like?" 113 complaints about 65 homes have been received. Nine complaints have been received regarding the social services center of Rēzekne for pensioners.
The Ombudsman's Office has carried out a visit with representatives of the Ministry of Welfare and the Health Inspectorate.
Ombudsman Juris Jansons concluded that the situation in Rēzekne showed that there is an urgent need to find a solution to raise the qualifications of carers and also the remuneration of carers so that it is possible to attract knowledgeable and motivated staff.
A number of infringements were detected during the visit.
The Ombudsman concluded that the rooms, shared and sanitary facilities of Rēzekne's center are inadequate for the service and are not set up to accommodate seniors and people with disabilities.
"In the institution's shared rooms, hallways, and even bedrooms, there was stucco falling from the walls. In several hallways, flooring and floor tiles are also heavily damaged, which not only makes it difficult for customers to move but also threatens the safety of them and employees. Some rooms are personalized and designed in a cozy atmosphere, at the same time several rooms are impersonal and contain only beds and bedside tables," said Ombudsman's Office representative Edgars Lākutis.
Only a few customers out of a total of 194 are going for walks in fresh air. The Ombudsman's Office indicated that it shows insufficient support for the provision of daily walks by the employees of the institution.
As customers mostly live in double and triple rooms, privacy is not guaranteed. A particularly problematic situation has been observed in the so-called “dementia sector”, with 48 clients in need of day-to-day care.
“In fact, all people in this sector are in their rooms all day and are forced to spend all their time lying next to other roommates, and also to observe how the staff of the institution provide daily hygiene care for those living next to them,” the Ombudsman's report says.
It was concluded that in several customer rooms, bedside commodes were placed without any enclosing screens. The Ombudsman's Office stated that it is not only offensive to human dignity but also unacceptable from a hygiene point of view.
Also, diapers are changed for customers with disabilities without any use of enclosing screens, which means that personal hygiene processes are seen by the roommates.
The institution's sanitary facilities also did not provide the necessary hygiene goods, in particular, toilet paper, which many were forced to buy themselves.
It has also been observed that individual employees of the institution treat residents disrespectfully and rudely.
“Even in the presence of representatives of the Ombudsman's Office, one of the caretakers did not hesitate to be rude and disrespectful to the client's request for assistance,” Lūkatis pointed out.
After submitting recommendations, the Ombudsman has requested the administration of the institution and the authorities controlling and supervising its work - the municipalities of Rēzekne State and the Ministry of Welfare - to take all necessary action to implement recommendations.