Wallonia bans nursing home visits, Flanders doesn’t
Wednesday, 11 March 2020
Credit: Creative Commons
Since Wednesday morning, Belgium’s nursing homes have been working to implement the measures decided by the Regions to counter the Covid-19 epidemic.
Depending on the region of the country, however, the way they are implementing them is totally different.
Wallonia: No visits
In Wallonia, the authorities have banned all visits to nursing homes and assisted living facilities until 31 March in order to reduce the spread of the epidemic and protect fragile residents.
“Since this morning, the residences have been printing posters and contacting families, but it won’t always be easy to pass on the pill,” says Christine Permanne, president of the Association of Directors of Rest Homes (ADMR).
For Vincent Frédéric, Secretary-General of the Federation of Private Nursing Homes, the circular distributed in the Walloon Region raises questions of interpretation: should reception or day centres, where senior citizens come to spend the day before returning home, be closed? Should new residents be accepted in rest homes?
“These are the questions I’m being asked at the moment, but they could have been anticipated,” he says.
Brussels/Flanders: It’s more complicated
In the Brussels Region, “non-essential” visits to retirement homes have been banned until 31 March as well, the authorities announced on Wednesday.
However, the Brussels nursing homes which depend on the Flemish Community are not affected and are applying the measures announced on Tuesday by Flemish Health Minister Wouter Beke, namely a limitation of visiting hours and a ban on access to children under 16.
Different situations within the same territory could lead to confusion for families, says Vincent Frédéric.
In order to move forward constructively, he said, it would be necessary to work more proactively to anticipate problems, particularly within working groups involving the region, the federation and the actors concerned.
“We have to prepare things in case things get worse. Everyone hopes that the virus will not enter our (rest) homes. But we might as well plan ahead and not run after the weather.”