This Wednesday, January 26, 2022 is published The Gravediggers, a shocking book in which journalist Victor Castanet denounces serious dysfunctions in nursing homes (accommodation establishments for dependent elderly people) managed by the Orpéa group. The 250 testimonies collected during the three years of investigation illustrate many situations of mistreatment: the author describes a system that rations hygiene care, medical care, and even meals for residents. And this while stays are charged at full price.
Mistreatment at the service of profitability
“I stayed there for almost a year, and I’m not telling you how much we had to fight to obtain protection for our residents, says a carer who worked with so-called ‘walking’ elderly people. We were rationed : it was three diapers a day maximum. And not one more. It doesn’t matter that the resident is sick, that he has gastro, that there is an epidemic.”
A former nurse who worked in several Ehpad of the Orpéa group explains that “we have patients who remain in bed all day because we do not have enough staff to take them down to the dining room. There are patients who do not eat breakfast, for lack of staff to bring them lunch. We have patients who we don’t hydrate and who we give jellies to because we don’t have a hydration pocket.”
And on the health side, the testimonials are just as eloquent. Sylvie Mitsinkides, the daughter of actress Françoise Dorin (who died in 2018 in the Neuilly-sur-Seine establishment), spoke on this subject the day before the book was released, on the BFM antenna TV. “She declared a pressure sore very quickly which was not treated properly and which degenerated, she did not have a doctor’s care. They told me it was nothing, that everything was fine, and when we got a little panicked it was already too late and she went into septic shock as a result […] It is a lack of vigilance, negligence, dysfunction. And all of this led to the death of my mother.
What shocked me the most was to hear one of the former executives explain to me that they treated people not as people, but as consumer products, testifies journalist Victor Castanet.
“It smelled of piss, we left some residents abandoned…”
— Brut FR (@brutofficiel) January 27, 2022
Ministries and regional health agencies on the front
“The revelations that have been made in this book are absolutely shocking […] Our elders deserve respect, they deserve the best, and it is out of the question that such acts can be tolerated in our country“, reacted Gabriel Attal at the end of the Council of Ministers, Wednesday January 26. Thursday January 27, the Regional Health Agency (ARS) of Île-de-France thus carried out an inspection in the establishment of Edges Seine, report our colleagues from France Info (source 1), and several employees were interviewed by the experts.
In a press release published on January 24, the company “formally contests” these accusations, which she considers to be “false, outrageous and prejudicial” (source 2). “We are not rationing, it does not correspond to our directives, it does not correspond to our values,” said Jean-Christophe Romersi, managing director of Orpéa, on BFM TV the next day. And to add: “We will never sacrifice the quality of the support, the quality of the care to any notion of profitability whatsoever”.
The general manager of the Orpéa group, Jean-Christophe Romersi, is however convened this Tuesday, February 1, 2022 by the Minister Delegate for the Autonomy of the Elderly, Brigitte Bourguignon. This summons will take place at 9:15 a.m., at the Ministry of Solidarity and Health, at the request of the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran.