Her biggest concern is that hospitals will eventually say "We are no longer accepting patients from nursing homes": Ilka Steck is a geriatric nurse and is preparing for everyday life under the corona virus. In her view, the greatest organizational challenge will be caring for the children of nursing staff. If a quarter of the employees in your facility fail, it can no longer be compensated for. A conversation about the new everyday life in senior institutions.

ZEIT ONLINE: Ms. Steck, how is the corona pandemic changing everyday life in the nursing home?

Ilka Steck works as a geriatric nurse in a nursing home in Langenau in Baden-Württemberg. The 44-year-old represents 9,200 employees in 86 nursing homes, outpatient services and day care as chair of the group employee representative body of the Evangelical Home Foundation. © private

Ilka Steck: Something new happens every day. We haven't had any events in the house with people from outside since the week before last. Employees and cleaning staff were trained again on the hygiene measures. We pay more attention than usual. The fear is naturally great as soon as a resident coughs. But there are also the normal colds. After the carnival vacation, we founded the AG Corona to consider how we would react in an emergency. Fortunately, we still have no confirmed case. At the moment everything is still hovering over us like a big gray cloud.

ZEIT ONLINE: When you look at the next few weeks, what is your biggest concern?

Steck: That Italian conditions are coming and the hospitals say: We no longer accept patients from nursing homes. Then we would have to care for the dying in an emergency because we are not equipped for intensive ventilation. We also have a human connection to our residents. We have known people for one, two, five or ten years. We recognize the relatives. It's always bad when someone dies. But when it is helpless, it is also very difficult for us emotionally.

ZEIT ONLINE: In general, the motto to slow down the spread is: As few social contacts as possible. Is that even possible in a nursing home?

Steck: Well, with us people still eat together. We have small living groups with a maximum of 15 residents, and if they stay together, it is similar to a family. But that's why no one should get in from the outside if possible. We, who are forced to come from outside, pay special attention to hygiene. Visiting has been banned in Baden-Württemberg since Friday.

ZEIT ONLINE: What are the consequences?

Steck: It was tough on Friday afternoon because we had to call everyone in the family. Now the door is locked and the people have to ring the bell. This is an additional workload for the weekend shift because it has to let visitors in.

ZEIT ONLINE: How do the relatives react?

Steck: Most people understand. But you can also see it when buying toilet paper in the shop: there are always some who don't want to see it. Then we have to clarify.

ZEIT ONLINE: What do you advise people whose relatives live in a home?

Steck: That they don't call every few hours because we have a lot to do ( laughs ). You can be confident that we will contact you when it is necessary and that we will take care of the people. In an emergency you can of course come by. However, we also try to enable telephone contact with the residents.

ZEIT ONLINE: And how do the residents deal with the new rules?

Steck: Here, too, 99 percent are understanding. But of course we don't lock anyone up. We can only appeal to their reason appeals not to go out. If you still go to the bakery, we say: When you come back, wash your hands first.

ZEIT ONLINE: How do people see that they belong to a risk group?

Steck: Many say: I've already lived my life. They are often more concerned about their children or wondering what is actually going on in our world. But of course nobody wants to get sick. But nobody locks himself in the room. The residents keep doing their thing.