Maltreatment scandal hits home

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MISPRACTICE: The retirement facility has been accused.

A DOZEN families filed an official complaint on Monday May 23, concerning perceived mistreatment of pensioners at the SARquavitae Azalea nursing home in San Pedro de Alcantara, Marbella.

The relatives assert that numerous irregularities and “continuous abuse” have been taking place at the lodgings, most seriously illegal retention of clients, errors in drug administration, lack of hygiene, and unqualified staff, with residents left malnourished and dehydrated.

The company running the home has rejected all charges, declaring that it has passed all necessary inspections carried out to date, and this was confirmed by the Junta de Andalucia regional government, which subsidises a number of places for poorer families and is now accused of “collusion”.

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Perhaps the most spectacular allegation is that staff are allowing elderly people to die, especially if their families complain about the revolting conditions, and that they don’t care since they have a lengthy waiting list.

Hygiene is said to be abject, with the pensioners restricted to one shower a week and not having their teeth cleaned or clothing changed, while food is served in insufficiently-sized portions with no attention to individual needs based on the residents’ pathology.

The retention of residents against their will is another serious assertion, and has led to the home being referred to as “Guantanamo” by locals.

Manuel Fernandez, one of the family members involved and former ombudsman, said: “Residents without families who visit them are abducted and locked away behind doors with a secret code for the rest of their lives; they are only allowed out to eat and do not see the sun, spending the rest of their time sat in wheelchairs.”

Fernandez says that his brother-in-law was subjected to 20 days of solitary confinement without explanation, eventually managing to escape following a call to National Police and an individual court case.

In response, Azalea defended its work, referencing “high quality standards”, and adding that residents “have a personalised care plan and a daily record to ensure quality care.”

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