Tuesday, October 19

Frustration and grief in the nursing homes of Alicante, Valencia and Castellón

The nursing home in Formentera del Segura during the transfer of a resident.

The nursing home in Formentera del Segura during the transfer of a resident.

Nightmare of coronavirus it is not over for anyone but nursing home workers they begin to show symptoms of emotional exhaustion. The pandemic has hit the elderly and many professionals feel responsible because, despite all the efforts they carry out in health prevention, they are not managing to prevent the virus from entering homes. They feel frustrated when verifying that the measures do not have the expected effect and that the outbreaks suffered in the first and second waves are repeated in the third with the same intensity.

It is very hard for them to have to confine residents to their rooms to prevent the disease from spreading. They are aware of the enormous physical and mental deterioration that such prolonged isolation and lack of physical and social activity generates. A loss that is already irrecoverable for the elderly. “But the deaths It is the worst we have. They are people we have known for many years as well as their children and grandchildren, whom we take care of and with whom we interact on a daily basis. An emotional bond is always created, so it is very painful to lose them in this way ”, explains Julia Rico, president of Lares in the Valencian Community.

A worker in a nursing home feeding a user and a professional from the Petrer nursing home during the Army disinfection tasks. | EFE / ÁXEL ÁLVAREZ

In addition, there are nursing homes in the province where the pandemic has been especially cruel. In DomusVi of Cook, Casaverde de Pilar de la Horadada, Alcoy’s residence, in Polop or in La Molineta de Petrer, for example. In this last center the first wave of covid-19 caused the death of four residents and the contagion of seven. In the second wave, eight died and 40 users and another 40 workers tested positive. And, without having yet closed the second outbreak on October 29, a new one emerged on January 9 with a balance that, to date, has claimed the lives of 5 users and infected another 28 and 9 professionals.

Fortunately there are other centers in the province, such as the Mariola residence in Alcoy, which has just closed the outbreak that was declared at the end of November. Also the nursing home Emilio Sala barely maintains active cases.

Frustration and grief in nursing homes

Social and healthcare professionals in the sector are enduring a work overexertion since the pandemic broke out. They are a risk group and have to double shifts and make up for the casualties of their colleagues when they are infected. Keeping the strict prevention rules daily and carrying out the usual tasks “like divers” wearing PPE suits, with gloves, masks and screens makes your work difficult and increases stress. They are also aware that the virus enters residences with them when they contract the disease and they are asymptomatic. A situation that triggers anxiety symptoms that even require medical monitoring. There are also cases -the least- in which a worker has come to request voluntary leave because they cannot continue to bear the work or emotional pressure. Most of these cases tend to occur among public sector health personnel.

Another factor that also contributes to undermining the morale of workers is the job insecurity they face because, in centers with active outbreaks, vacancies are not being filled as a preventive measure. “And the worst of all is that we’ve been like this for almost a year and we don’t see the end of this nightmare,” laments Julia Rico.


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