Health violations found in assisted living in Kandava, Latvia

The social services of Kandava and Tukums have long placed seniors and people with functional disabilities in an institution providing services similar to long-term social care and rehabilitation, but it has not been registered and does not meet the minimum requirements to be provided in such institutions, the Ombudsman's office said on June 19.

The services provided and offered by the institution cannot be regarded as appropriate and safe for the health and life of these people, the Ombudsman's office said.

The Ombudsman has referred to the Prosecutor General's Office regarding the findings, asking to assess whether the responsibility provided for in the Criminal Law is applicable in these activities, and has already received a reply that the State Police will consider what has happened.

Kandava assisted living facility has not been registered in the Register of Social Services Providers of the Ministry of Welfare and the responsible State administrative authorities have not been officially informed - Ministry of Welfare, Ministry of Health, Health Inspectorate, Food and Veterinary Service, State Fire and Rescue Service, etc. The task of these authorities is to prevent illegal activity and threats to human health and life by regularly monitoring the implementation of regulatory enactments.

"I admire this level of legal nihilism and disrespect for the law, which puts the health and even life of vulnerable people at risk. It must be understood that in this situation, we are talking about one of the most vulnerable groups in society, so the infringement can be judged as particularly severe, " said the Ombudsman Juris Jansons.

During a campaign initiated by the Ombudsman in the spring, the employees of the Ombudsman's Office visited the facility without warning, but its management was unable to produce any official document showing the legality and appropriateness of the services provided at the facility.

Several residents confirmed that services are provided for about six years, and with the support of the Social Service, people who find it difficult to take care of themselves because of age or functional problems are placed in it.

The Social Service of Tukums municipality confirmed to the Ombudsman that the administration planned to register the assisted living facility in the Welfare Ministry's register of social services providers only after developing a project and performing some repairs in order to improve conditions in the facility.

The city council of Tukums had known about the violation in the past - as part of the administrative-territorial reform, in 2021, it had taken over from the social service in Kandava and it was already concluded that the service provided had not been registered for several years and did not comply with the requirements of the legislation, the Ombudsman's Office said.


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