Continuous care network frustrated by ‘abandoned people’

National association says facilities “paralysed” by paperwork; government looks other way

The National Association of Continuing Care (ANCC) is requesting an urgent meeting with the Attorney General of the Republic because of the number of dependent people abandoned or without family who are increasingly becoming the responsibility of individual units.

According to the president of the association, José Bourdain, courts have been “flooding” directors of these continuous care units with procedures relating to abandoned people.

These require paying bills/ solving problems in banks – basically all kinds of bureaucratic issues that have nothing to do with running a health facility.

“Either the public prosecutors, or the courts, flood us with a series of measures that we are obliged to take, regarding people that have been abandoned by their families, people that no longer have families and even illegal immigrants”, Bourdain tells Lusa.

“This paralyses the work of the unit”, he adds, stressing the government is well aware of the situation but “does not solve, does not legislate to solve…”

According to data provided to Lusa, continuous care homes currently have around 275 cases where they are in charge of the affairs of dependent people, 61 of these have been “abandoned by their families”, 54 have no families. The remainder may refer to illegal immigrants; Lusa’s text does not clarify.

One solution, suggests José Bourdain, is “to create a State department, possibly with magistrates in charge, and in which the Portuguese State itself assumes these responsibilities”.

It is, after all, the State that  “should assume the responsibilities of these people who, from a cognitive point of view, do not have the capacity to manage their daily lives”.

Right now, institutions are basically being used as unpaid workers for the State, incapable of performing the tasks for which they have been employed, he stresses.

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