Suffering in silence: the scourge of sexual abuse in French care homes


Denise was a 93-year-old hemiplegic resident of a care home in eastern France when she was attacked by a man in the establishment, beaten and sexually assaulted. She never recovered and died one year later. Her story is one of several highlighted in this report on the shocking reality of sexual attacks on care home residents, a largely hidden issue which rarely reaches the courts. The reasons for the silence include the failing health, and notably neurological disorders, of the victims, the taboo that surrounds such crimes and the failure of establishments to reveal the events. Sophie Boutboul and Leila Minano report.

Fear and bitterness in France's care homes as second Covid wave arrives

France — Report

France's care home sector, which was on the front line of the Covid-19 crisis in the early part of the year, is now bracing itself for the second wave. A number of residential homes are already closed to visitors and in some areas staff have had to stop relatives climbing in through windows to see their loved ones. Amid the fear and anxiety about the rapid return of the Coronavirus, there is also growing bitterness among both care home staff and domestic carers that they have once again been overlooked. Angry representatives point out that their working conditions and pay have not been given the same priority as those of hospital staff. Mathilde Goanec reports.

Lack of doctors contributed to plight of residents 'sacrificed' in French care homes

France — Investigation

An investigation by Mediapart has shown how a lack of doctors has been a contributory factor in the major problems faced in many of France's care homes during the coronavirus epidemic, with medical staff themselves falling ill to the virus. In some cases replacement doctors were turned away from care homes because of the apparent risk of spreading the disease, and death certificates have been signed remotely by doctors who have not physically examined the deceased. In the Paris region in particular the problems were compounded because the health authority took too long to realise the scale of the problem in nursing homes and how many people were dying in them. It was then slow to react to the situation, to the frustration and anger of both healthcare professionals and the relatives of those who died. Mathilde Goanec and Pascale Pascariello report.

French care homes face ethical crisis over life or death issues as virus takes its toll


The type of healthcare to be administered and the rules surrounding the physical and chemical restraint of some residents in France's care homes have been been urgently reviewed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, prompting anger from some carers. They fear many residents who do not get the virus could suffer as a result, and that some who do could die “painful deaths” because of administrative delays, or be affected by a growing shortage of medicines. There is dismay, too, that these establishment are once again being treated as the poor relation in France's social and healthcare system. According to the government's incomplete figures some 2,189 deaths “linked to Covid” have occurred in the country's nursing homes since March 1st. Mathilde Goanec reports.