The spherical of hearses within the backyard, the our bodies locked in physique luggage, the unimaginable sound of the coffin being sealed. “We didn’t know the place we have been going”, confides Morgane, ten months later, her voice nonetheless moved. This younger 25-year-old lady with a piercing gaze had barely two months of seniority in her put up of instructional and social assist (AES), when the Covid wave fell on the Jardin des Roses, an associative Ehpad of Adef Résidences, in Villecresnes (Val-de-Marne).
Out of almost 80 residents, 17 died. Unimaginable to comb their hair, to decorate them of their most interesting garments, for a final farewell. They left in tears and silence. “You were not going to inform your private home while you acquired house: At this time I put three corpses in a bag», Says Marilyne, 52, gerontology care assistant.
On the Jardin des Roses, we handle to place phrases into this sanitary tsunami. That is taking place behind closed doorways in assist teams organized by Médecins sans frontières (MSF). The NGO shortly understood that these nursing houses, on the entrance line, have been on the verge of implosion.
To this point, there are 30% of deaths linked to Covid in nursing houses. The virus didn’t spare any of the 706 nursing houses in Ile-de-France (60,000 residents and 40,000 employees), the place with 9,049 deaths recorded between March and December, mortality jumped 55% in comparison with the identical interval in 2019 . ” In April, the nursing homes have been the place with the best demise price. Households have been doing badly, the employees was crying, the administrators have been on the verge of breaking down, ”recollects Marie Thomas, a psychologist who led the interventions in 39 nursing houses within the Ile-de-France area. MSF’s guess: to assist the employees, and by extension, the morale of residents and households.
It was François Fauriaux, a younger coordinating nurse, who had the concept. Its group is made up of round forty incumbents, all ladies, with salaries hovering round 1,250 euros and the minimal wage for all times assistants, who symbolize half of the employees.
He was however satisfied that “the Covid does [rentrerait] not ”on the Jardin des Roses. “And the primary case occurred, with a demise two days later within the hospital,” he recollects. Then it went in a short time, two, three, 4, ten … “The Covid took up residence within the protected unit, the place disoriented residents stay,” who don’t have the discernment to know confinement “. The directions of the affiliation, which manages 30 institutions, half of that are in Ile-de-France, is obvious: residents are usually not forcibly saved of their rooms.
“I could not even discuss to my household”
So the confinement was performed by unit, and the staff not crossed paths. “It was anxious, however nobody complained, they have been warriors. With out them, the institution doesn’t flip, ”repeats the coordinator. Administration has counted three instances of Covid amongst employees.
The staff then launch a gaggle on Messenger. “I could not even discuss to my household,” says Aiché, a 31-year-old caregiver. At first, I hid what was occurring from my husband, he was afraid for the youngsters, I most popular to maintain all of it to myself. ” To the purpose of shedding sleep and urge for food. “I’d have blamed myself if one thing had occurred to my home, and I saved feeling responsible about whether or not the residents had died due to me.” The director, Savénie Charbonnier, expresses her satisfaction within the groups, and describes a “loopy actuality”: “We accompanied the households within the backyard to current them the lifeless via the window.”
“We made a promise to maintain in any respect prices”
Change job? Morgane thought of it effectively. In spite of everything, regardless of her younger age, she was as soon as a waitress, cashier, secretary… “I broke down after one other demise, the third of the day, it was the day earlier than my birthday. However we made a promise with Aiché: preserve in any respect prices except we had the Covid, ”she mentioned. Promise saved.
A month later, the strain fell, “like while you come out of your hiding place after an extended chilly winter”, illustrates François Fauriaux. New residents have arrived, together with a second centenarian. A wall of recollections has been improvised, within the widespread areas, with the picture of the deceased. The primary day, Aiché cried. It was in Might and the speculation of a second wave was already lurking. The administration felt the employees tottering, and requested for MSF’s assist, for long-term assist.
“It feels good to empty your bag”
Morgane thought that one date can be sufficient. “However I understood that it was not settled for me”, confides the younger lady, returned to every assembly. Aiché explains that two periods “freed” her. “It feels good to empty your bag, we’re united, that is why we maintain on. If we depart, who will accompany the residents? ” asks Maryline. Within the widespread room, all the time adorned with Christmas colours, a dozen residents are seated round a desk, rocked by the melancholy “Track of Tessa” by Mouloudji.
Administration is satisfied that these assist teams have been “a spot to blow up, a decompression valve”. “The disaster will depart marks,” says Marie Thomas, at MSF. There may be work to be performed in the long run that the authorities ought to bear in mind, the employees work lots and are usually not thought of. ” A bitterness that the non-medical employees expresses bluntly, like Maryline: “The non-public all the time goes behind the general public, we have now the impression of being thrown like socks.” The month-to-month premium of 183 euros can also be deliberate for personal nursing houses, assures the Ministry of Well being. It ought to apply retroactively from this January.
“This disaster will depart marks”
Marie Thomas, psychologist at MSF, has led assist teams with employees from 39 nursing houses in Ile-de-France, and now in PACA and Occitanie.
We’re used to associating Docs With out Borders with humanitarian support, not with retirement houses …
This isn’t the primary time that MSF has intervened in a closed setting. Prisons, orphanages, nursing houses … Closed locations are all the time an element of vulnerability. MSF intervenes when there’s a disaster, an epidemic and when weak folks haven’t any different assist. The nursing house assist group undertaking was constructed round these three standards.
What was the state of affairs then?
It have to be remembered that in April 2020, nursing houses have been the place the place there was the best demise price, that it was troublesome to enter and, till June, there was no assist. We tried to mobilize, however even the associations have been under-equipped, had no masks, no materials. Households have been doing badly, employees have been crying, managers have been on the verge of breaking down. Ehpad known as for assist. We guess that by supporting the employees, we’d not directly assist the morale of residents and households.
Who was coming?
It was completely free, as much as eight folks per group. The group alternate occurred for one hour throughout working time. We intervened a number of instances throughout the identical week in an institution to remember to attain all of the groups, together with the evening ones, for an hour, then we remained an hour and a half on the disposal of those that wished it. It was an necessary time, it helped them to return to see us. On 39 nursing houses in Ile-de-France, we supplied particular person monitoring in 40% of our interventions. We additionally supplied assist to administration groups that have been prone to collapse. They trusted us and it was very effectively obtained.
What have you ever observed?
We anticipated to seek out conditions of overwork or burnout, we have been stunned to seek out that there have been extra dangers of growing a psychotrauma: there was loads of stress and nervousness, lack of urge for food, sleep issues, with an impression on private life, with the youngsters or the partner. These assist teams enabled employees to understand that others had additionally skilled this. I’m pondering specifically of the linen maids, the kitchen employees, who additionally labored lots and didn’t meet their colleagues. These teams made them notice that they weren’t the one ones to return house crying each evening, and this inspired conferences.
Your interventions finish in Ile-de-France. What’s the state of nursing house employees?
This disaster will depart marks. For the groups supported in Ile-de-France, it is vitally heterogeneous. For some institutions, we have now come out of the disaster however there’s nonetheless lots to do, even whether it is not the accountability of a disaster NGO. MSF has been working since November in PACA and Occitanie, with 30 nursing houses in epidemic outbreaks. Our intervention additionally enabled administration and administration groups to be alerted to their very own psychological well being. If they’re unhealthy, they can not work effectively. This entails, amongst different issues, taking depart. However the institutional issues of earlier than are usually not solved. There may be work to be performed in the long run that the authorities ought to take into accounts. The nursing house employees work lots and are hardly acknowledged.