For a more humane approach to hospital and nursing home visits


Bruno d’Alimonte

Our Belgian members, Respect Seniors, Enéo and Entr’âges have joined forces with 9 other associations to call for a humane and uniform legal regulation on visit to nursing homes during the COVID pandemic that are debated and voted in Parliament.

Many residents in nursing homes and their families have suffered a lot from the extremely restrictive measures on visits during the covid period. The rules often change and vary from one institution to another. There was no legal framework, nor debate in parliaments. Each institution can apply its own rules “if it considers it necessary and useful”. This makes it therefore difficult for older people and their families to assert their rights.

A violation of fundamental rights

These rules on visits to nursing homes and hospitals clearly violate Article 8 of the European Convention on Human which protects the right to respect for private and family life. By limiting the number of family visits, the number of visitors or by imposing age-related conditions, institutions are guilty of unlawful interference with the rights guaranteed by Article 8 ECHR, since there is no legal framework for such restriction.

For a uniform and humane legal framework

The Ligue des familles, the Ligue des droits humains, the Gang des Vieux en Colère, Eneo, Espace Seniors, the LUSS, Senoah, Respect Seniors, Bien Vieillir, Senior Montessori, Entr’âges and AISBL Générations call for

  • A more humane approach to rules on visits;
  • A legal framework that is subject to democratic debate;
  • Common rules for the different institutions, applicable according to the different stages of the health situation. People should be treated in the same way in the same situation;
  • A minimum right to visits in nursing homes and hospitals, guaranteed regardless of the health situation;
  • The right for nursing home residents to come and go freely, on the same basis and under the same conditions as the rest of the population;
  • The end of “bubbles” (restricted number of visitors) in nursing homes, in line with the evolution of the rules for the rest of society. This makes all the more sense since people living in these institutions have now been able to be vaccinated.
  • Special attention for children of all ages, who must be able to visit their relatives in rest homes or in hospital and be accompanied by both parents when they are in hospital, whatever the health situation.

Read the press article in French

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