‘Secret’ bonus scheme at nursing homes revealed

Swedish health care provider Carema has received another blow as a "secret" bonus program for managers was revealed just days after staff told how high-savings initiatives have led to neglect of the elderly in their care.

'Secret' bonus scheme at nursing homes revealed

The bonus programs reportedly reward managers of elderly care facilities who keep tight control on their division’s economy and perform under budget, according to Swedish Television (SVT) documentary, Dokument inifrån, which airs Sunday evening.

An anonymous director described how departments are pitted against each other in competition.

The managers who maintain the best budgets receive one or more months’ salary in bonuses, according to reports by daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN).

“The bonus is something you talk quietly about and is not spread about within the company or to the public,” the manager told SVT.

In addition, the documentary episode reveals that a large number of managers are also enticed to become shareholders in the business, giving them an added stake in cost savings.

Last week employees from a Carema elderly care facility in Stockholm disclosed how major cut backs have meant staff shortages, broken equipment and sometimes no toilet paper.

According to the employees, management solved staff shortages by making personnel from other departments fill in 20 minutes here and there over the course of a day.

Reports from staff and ex-employees of Carema also included situations where toilets couldn’t be sat on due to their filthy state, the questioning of every prescription that would cost the company money, and a failure to address patient concerns.

For example, the DN reported how a patient’s broken bed led to the requisition of that of another patient’s, who in turn was forced to sleep on the floor for several months.

Carema has thus far chosen not to comment on its bonus programs or allegations of suspected neglect at both Koppargården and Tallbohov elderly care facilities in Järfälla, outside Stockholm.

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Spain’s prosecutors file criminal complaint over virus care home death

Spanish prosecutors said Tuesday they have filed a criminal complaint against a Madrid care home doctor and its director over the Covid-related death of a resident, in the first such case in the capital region since the start of the pandemic

Spain's prosecutors file criminal complaint over virus care home death
Photo: AFP

Madrid's public prosecutor's office said the two women are suspected of manslaughter and denial of medical attention in relation to the death in March of a woman in her 80s who had just moved into the home.   

Madrid was one of the hardest-hit cities in Europe by the first wave of the pandemic, and the complaint is expected to be one of several alleging inadequate care at retirement homes during the period.

In a statement, the prosecutor's office said the doctor and the director of the home, who were not named, did not follow the protocol set up by the Madrid regional government for caring for residents during the pandemic.

The doctor “disregarded” the protocol and did not call a hospital about the woman, despite her worsening condition, until eight days after she began having breathing trouble.

“Despite her rapid transfer to hospital, she died the following day from cardiac arrest,” the statement said.

The care home's director “was aware of the patient's clinical situation (but) did nothing” to ensure she received health care during periods when the doctor was absent, notably on the weekend before her death, it added.   

Amnesty International warned earlier this month that conditions at elderly care homes in the Madrid region and in Catalonia remained “alarming” despite improvements.

In a sharply worded report, it said the “vast majority” of residents had not been properly cared for during the pandemic.

The measures put in place by both regions were “inefficient and inadequate” and violated the residents' rights, it said.   

Spain has been one of Europe's worst-hit countries, with the virus infecting more than 1.7 million people and causing over 48,000 deaths.

Close to half of that number are believed to be elderly people who died in homes, Amnesty said.

At the height of the first wave in March, Spanish soldiers helping to fight the pandemic found elderly patients in retirement homes abandoned and, in some cases, dead in their beds.