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Protection of Persons Restricted in their Freedom

Social Care Institutions

Visits and activities in 2007

Systematic visits to 27 homes for the elderly were carried out from January to June 2007 with the objective of verifying how the clients of the facilities were treated and their rights respected. The visits also took place due to the current situation in the area of social services, in particular the transfer to the new circumstances introduced by the Act on Social Services (Act No. 108/2006 Coll. as amended) effective from January 1, 2007. The latter act substan-tially changes the conditions for the provision of social services by introducing contractual ele-ments, changing the method of financing of services and imposing new obligations on munici-palities and regions.

The systematic visits were carried out during the half-year period for registration of facilities as the providers of some of the social care services in the sense of the provisions of Section 120 (5) of the Act on Social Services. By name, the visited facilities include retirement homes, homes for the elderly and apartment homes for retired people. The visited facilities can be defined, with some exceptions, as providing permanent housing, catering and care to elderly people, mostly to some degree dependent on the care of another person. The neces-sary degree of care and support is paid by the user from the allowance for care, while housing and catering are paid from their income (the law limits the payment to 85% of the income). The relevant performance takes place on the basis of an agreement on the provision of social service (Section 91 of the Act on Social Services).

There was a considerable uncertainty resulting from the new legislation among both the providers and users of the services at the time of the visits. Allowances for care were gradually granted for the elderly people; in several facilities, barely half of the clients were receiving the allowance. The founders had generally not been impacted by the change in the system of funding from public budgets so far, but anticipated this in 2008 and the expected decrease in redistributed assistance.

The Defender had chosen the Institute of Social Care for the Physically Handicapped in Hořice v Podkrkonoší and the Home with Special Regime in Bolevec for the follow-up visits.

The results of the follow-up visits in the two facilities sharply differed. In the Bolevec home, the Defender appreciated the goodwill, gradual implementation of the recommendations and an effort to meet the requirements resulting from the Defender's final statement after the visits in 2006. On the contrary, the Defender had to state in the Hořice institute that most of his recommendations had not been respected and implemented (primarily a failure to eliminate shortcomings in individual planning, to strengthen the privacy of clients, adjust the meal serving regime and the performance of personal hygiene). Given the persisting serious shortcomings, the Defender discussed the specific measures and procedures that would lead to implementation of his recommendations and a gradual fulfilment of quality standards in the facility with a representative of the founder.

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