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Maltreatment reports increasing in Swedish geriatric care

Published: 13 Aug 2011 09:22 GMT+02:00

One 100 year-old woman had her own fist shoved into her mouth. An 85 year-old had white crawling larvae in her infected sores. A sick elderly man received a wrong dosage of insulin.

Reports of maltreatment of elderly are increasing in many parts of the country, despite the fact that Sweden spends more money on geriatric care than any other OECD country.

"We've reformed the entire regulatory organisation, and a larger responsibility now rests with the National Board of Health and Welfare," explained Maria Larsson, minister for children and elderly.

"Previously we haven't had a national overview of the situation, which we do now. The process needs to be open, and it's important that nothing gets swept under the rug."

"Generally speaking our geriatric care in Sweden is good, we notice that when we speak to the patients themselves. Of course, there are flaws and singular cases, and that's why we need to be open, in order to discover and prevent these," said Larsson.

Nearly 200 reports of maltreatment, at nursing homes and in geriatric care, were made to the National Board of Health and Welfare's regional offices last year. Most came from patients' relatives.

"Smaller issues should be corrected by the counties' own quality checks, only the bigger mistakes are brought forward to us. This could be severe risks, life-threatening mistakes, administering the wrong drug, or staff acting in an inappropriate manner," explained Gert Alaby, coordinator of elderly care issues at the National Board of Health and Welfare.

However, very few reports have led to the authority demanding direct measures. Instead, the responsibility for correcting flaws is often shuffled over to counties.

Region Mitt, an area covering the counties Uppsala, Gävleborg, Västmanland and Dalarna, received 36 complaints between 2010 and 2011. Only eight of these led to action.

For Region Öst, which is Stockholm and Gotland, the authority only demanded that measures be taken in five of 56 cases. Even so, in every case, a dialogue is held with the county, about how best to solve the problem.

"Counties are now responsible to ensure the problem is solved, and mistakes corrected. But if this doesn't resolve the situation, we are now able to both prohibit businesses and fine them," said Larsson.

New legislation, brought into effect July 1st this year, counties are obliged to report lex Sarah-cases, reports of maltreatment within geriatric care, to the National Board of Health and Welfare.

However, the tendency to report varies from county to county.

TT/The Local/cg (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

12:02 August 13, 2011 by jacquelinee
@ streja- Here we go again!

Previous excerpts from articles on "disciplinary action" (hahaha) against elderly abuse in Sweden :

Local authorities in Norrköping have elected not to report two assistant nurses suspected of maltreating elderly patients at a nursing home to the police, according to the local Folkbladet daily.

Both nurses are currently suspended from work on full pay while waiting for the municipality to decide whether they will be allowed to return to their old jobs.

Despite this, the two nurses are now back at work after a suspension of two months for one nurse, and three weeks for the other.

The nurses are now working with the same elderly patients as before the incidents occurred

"We want to know how they are ensuring correct care, upon the return of these people," said Britt-Marie Persson, deputy manager of the south-eastern supervision division

The authority cannot, however, take any action directly against the two employees pointed out as responsible for the maltreatment, because they are neither certified medical personnel, nor do they perform the type of duties that certified personnel do.

The two assistant nurses were originally suspended for a period of three weeks and two months respectively, and then returned to their former positions at the home.

Now they have once again been suspended from their jobs

Here is what I have done as a concerned citizen...will you?

I have sent emails to the authorities responsible for this disgusting story as well as over 50 news agencies worldwide including the New York Times. I have sent the email to the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) that has ranked Sweden in the top 5 for elderly care.

POSTING GOVENMENT CONTACTS AND THE OEC CONTACT BELOW: PLEASE USE YOUR VOICE.

"The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing." - A. Einstein

annette.odalen@norrkoping.se

seyrelsen@socialstyrelsen.se

socialkontoret@norrkoping.se -Britt-Marie Persson

norrkoping.kommun@norrkoping.se - Lars Karlsson

http://www.regeringen.se/sb/d/7545 - Maria Larsson

li.teske@norrkoping.se

http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/justiceforelderly

Thank you for being the voice of those who can not. PLEASE READ THIS AND RESPOND
13:56 August 13, 2011 by cogito
jacqueline,

I'm afraid this sort of thing has become so common now that no one reacts anymore.

Where's the outrage? (Except for yours, jacqueline).
16:10 August 13, 2011 by Addendum
Medical Dictatorship...
16:12 August 13, 2011 by jacquelinee
@ cognito (and everyone else)

Well, I have emailed now over 100 news agencies and governments worldwide and just sent another update with details from this latest disgrace, as well as copied the email to Maria Lazy Ass Larsson, the socialstyelsen (more like the socialdoingnothing) among other swedish pathetic government agencies who should feel ashamed. I can't speak for anyone but myself, but as long as one poor soul in a swedish deathcare home had maggots on their poor sore bodies, I will not have guilt in my conscience or soul, from standing idly by with my mouth shut and not acting and speaking out.
17:42 August 13, 2011 by Streja
That story has changed now though Jacqueline.
18:55 August 13, 2011 by jacquelinee
@ Streja

Yes it has changed. We have an expression in North America if I may be so blunt...... "Same Sh-it, Different Pile"

The story has added atrocities, I agree, and I have informed the various news agencies and poiical avenues in various countries. They have had the proper amendments made to the story.

Streja, if you actually have the nerve to defend this then you need not have to worry about debating with my anymore on any issue because, quite frankly, if you defend this, you are just plain not worth the time.
09:36 August 14, 2011 by Polarbear
@streja

'The story has changed' but it is unfortunate that the events haven't and that events such as this are still going on.

It is really difficult to fire someone in Sweden and I suppose shoving vomit down a vulnerable elderly woman's throat does not constitute a work violation. Maybe they thought the maggots were beneficial as it has been shown that they can clean wounds. That would save work and stretch the staff's ever precious FIKA time.Your comment is trying to justify the horrendous crimes committed against the very Swedes who worked hard all of their lives to build the Swedish model which they believed would look after them and their descendants from cradle to grave. How wrong they were. How sad that is.

If I were you I would be apologizing for the hideous and cruel behaviour and be very embarassed that this is allowed to continue in a so called developed country. Oh yeah, and THE country that is always best in the world. Hmmm...I guess that fits. Sweden is the best in the world at elderly abuse. That is something to be proud of.

The underlying problem in this country is two-fold. Swedes have grossly undereducated themselves and have been indoctrinated since birth to believe that they are the best and that any authority is always right.

In the professional world Swedes are laughed at. They are viewed as rather slow, uneducated people who work only to get drunk on weekends.

WAKE UP streja and the rest of Sweden. Try to de-prgram yourselves and see what is actually going on in your backyards.
12:57 August 14, 2011 by jacquelinee
"The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing." - A. Einstein
23:45 August 14, 2011 by Smallnose
It's time for an active flying squad to investigate and solve this hush up, it's time for Weight Watchers.
10:24 August 15, 2011 by jacquelinee
It will be swept under the carpet as always. Just like it is right here on the Local. Some story about Street Buskers or some minor sport activity stays on the front page for well over a week, but something as immensly as important as this is not even on the front page for 1 full day. Disgraceful. All aspects of this story are disgraceful, but no one will open their mouth or come to the aid of these poor people while the facts are kept being buried and trivialised. I am sad that the Local sometimes makes such poor judgement calls as the what news actually is important and what is just "fluff".
13:56 August 15, 2011 by Uggla
And these same people hurting the elderly will also be old someday yet they will expect to be treated kindly. Funny how that works.
17:00 August 15, 2011 by jacquelinee
After reading the write up about elderly care on sweden.se I am surprised they don't say that "the elderly are allowed to keep pets, for example, the woman in the care home who has her own maggot colony she looks after". That is how full of B.S. that site is.

I realise there are many very good nurses and caregivers looking after the elderly. I personally know 2. But this RIDICULOUS situation of not being able to fire people in Sweden is outrageous!!! They should be firedand fined and prosecuted. But they won't.

The least that should be done is,if those people who have committed these heinous actions are not fired, then reinstate them back with jobs like cleaning toilets, washing vomit out of clothes. Taking out garbage etc and keep them away from th general elderly population.

And shame on the local for burying this article away from the public. But lets have some more earth shattering news about swedish berry picking.
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