Following the mid-September 2017 recommendations of the “flash mission” for the “EHPAD’s” (nursing home establishments for aged and dependent individuals), MPs Monique Iborra (LREM, Haute Garonne) and Caroline Fiat (LFI, Meurthe-et-Moselle) presented a report on the “EPHAD” situation to the Social Affairs Committee of the National Assembly on March 14th.

The report finds a “deep crisis” in these institutions: the “EHPADs” are no longer able to adequately manage healthcare for increasingly more dependent and older people (average age of 85 according to the French Directorate of Research, Analysis, Evaluation and Statistics, “DREES”). The two deputies call on the French government to take immediate measures, but also to reconsider the “EHPAD model itself”.

As a result of the 19 visits to establishments throughout France and trips to the Netherlands and Denmark, 31 measures have been proposed to help solve the current crisis. Among the measures: the rapporteurs recommend to increase the ratio of caregivers (nurses and nurse’s aides) to 60 employees for 100 residents within 4 years. The current ratio is approximately 24.5 caregivers and 6 nurses for 100 residents. This would be the “minimum standard” to ensure that each resident receives 1 ½ hours of care every day. While the government announces a few million € more for EHPAD, the rapporteurs point out that their recommendation requires over 200, 000 recruitments, which would cost 7-10 billion €.

Regarding the EPHAD funding reform voted in the last 5-year term, and still in force, the two rapporteurs unequivocally call for “suspending the reform for dependency tariffs” (proposition n ° 24).

The report also suggests that the National Health Insurance establish free home consultations, at 65, then at age 70, to assess the peoples’ health condition and dependency, and inform them on the aids available.

Similarly, both rapporteurs are in favor of reducing the EPHAD costs for residents: “the resources of many residents (average pension of 1,200€ versus an income of 1,700€) is very low compared to the nursing home prices (1,900 € including 700 € for “meals and lodging”). The MP, Monique Iborra explains that: “a number of people remain at home in questionable conditions, and do not enter nursing homes due to the prohibitive cost”.

This “flash-mission” gave its conclusions on the eve of a massive general national mobilization scheduled for 15 March. Nine national organizations *, retirees, staff from EPHADs and home-based care services rallied throughout France to voice their dissatisfaction: the 1.7 point increase in the social contribution charges “CSG: Contribution Sociale Généralisée”) for 60% of retirees, the declining pensions, staff shortages in nursing homes, elderly persons being neglected or mistreated… Between 39,000 and 68,000 retirees reportedly expressed dissatisfaction in 30 cities, according to accounts from the “AFP: Agence France Presse”, the police, and trade union figures.

This strike occurs about 6 weeks after the first unprecedented massive strike which denounced understaffing and demanded the repeal of a contested price reform for their funding.

On March 15, the Minister of Health and Solidarity, Agnès Buzyn, announced in a press release “that the National Assembly works with all French departments” on a budget plan for dependent people and promised “strategic planning” by early April 2018 for managing care for the aging population.

(French Trade and Labor Unions : UCR-CGT, UCR-FO, UNAR-CFTC, UNIR CFE-CGC, FSU-Retraités, Solidaires, FGR, LSR et UNRPA)________________

For further information:

Nursing Homes in France: Both the Elderly and their Caregivers are Suffering
Solidarity for the Elderly