During the intervention of the Covid-19 / Ehpad mobile team from the Toulouse University Hospital with volunteers from civil security.


Sarah Rosier

  • In Haute-Garonne, the incidence rate has been 159.5 positive cases per 100,000 inhabitants since Sunday.

  • The cases of contamination multiply in nursing homes, of which 10% are considered as clusters.

  • To help retirement homes to curb positive cases, a mobile “Ehpad” team has been set up within the Toulouse University Hospital.

  • Between massive tests and advice to manage the crisis, this team must face the lack of personnel in these establishments, accentuated by the health crisis.

Forming a circle, Victor, Sarah and even Madeleine pay attention to the advice that Véronique Léon, the geriatric health manager, gives them.

All are ready to intervene in three nursing homes in the Toulouse area with the mobile nursing home team from the Toulouse University Hospital.

A unit set up at the start of the coronavirus pandemic to intervene in support of these establishments for the elderly.

These civil protection volunteers are now used to this brainstorming.

Alongside nurses and a doctor from the Toulouse University Hospital, they have the task of testing elderly people, sometimes in "drive" mode, sometimes in their room when they can no longer move.

But also to screen the staff of these establishments who willingly comply with the exercise each time a positive case is detected or one of the residents presents symptoms.

🧪 # COVID screening For several weeks, every day, our samplers have been working alongside caregivers at @CHUdeToulouse to strengthen the # COVID19 screening systems in Purpan, Rangueil but also on mobile "drives".

https://t.co/CTsgeND70T pic.twitter.com/C0d88DyTPk

- Civil Protection of Haute-Garonne (@ ProtecCivile31) September 21, 2020

Almost at the level of the first wave

“In March, we were doing several outings a week, then there was a stop this summer.

But since August 15, things start again and we will soon catch up to the level of the first wave, ”notes Doctor Hélène Villars, whose phone keeps ringing.

This geriatrician from the Toulouse University Hospital reassures his interlocutors, in particular the nursing home managers who call him for advice or to have one of their agents tested urgently.

“There is stress when a staff member or resident has symptoms.

We created the mobile team to make recommendations but also tests when necessary and they were not able to do them in the laboratory of the sector ”, explains this specialist who can rely on volunteers from the civil protection and on the “Emirs”, these rapid intervention teams of the Regional Health Agency.

There is a cluster in one of 10 nursing homes in Haute-Garonne

- 20 Minutes Toulouse (@ 20minutestoul) September 18, 2020

And requests are not lacking at the moment.

No less than a third of nursing homes in Haute-Garonne have at least one positive case and 10% of them are identified as a cluster.

Under-staffed in nursing homes

"We must deal with it quickly because these are sources of contamination, the virus takes up residence there.

This is why often, as soon as a positive case is detected, it is transferred to the hospital, it is necessary to prevent this spreading among the staff.

Because these establishments are understaffed, there is a significant cumulative absenteeism to which is added the waiting for test results.

Sometimes they do not have referring doctors and sometimes when they do, it is retired doctors who come to the aid, except they are fragile people, ”continues the hospital practitioner.

A reality faced by the Séverac d'Aveyron nursing home where several residents have died and many positive cases have been identified among the staff.

"The situation is quite complex for personnel management, to ensure continuity of service, with difficulties in recruiting in this sector in great tension", we recognize within the CCAS of Toulouse, which manages 18 establishments for the elderly, including one who was screened at the end of last week.

If none of their residents has been affected "thanks to compliance with sanitary confinement measures", four agents have however tested positive at the Louis Douste-Blazy nursing home since deconfinement.

Advice on what action to take

Like many, they were able to count on the CHU's Covid platform, which coordinates the interventions.

Its teams can also lend a hand when there is an under-medicalization, give advice in particular on questions of hygiene, on the management of oxygen stocks or on the best way to set up an area " Covid ”to circumscribe the cases in part of the retirement home.

“We come to help them, so when we arrive, we are well received,” explains Véronique Léon.

At his side, Madeleine, gastroenterologist and volunteer in the civil protection, did not hesitate to put on the gown to do PCR tests.

"We must show solidarity with the elderly, that people have an awareness," explains this professional, who, like her colleagues sometimes has to deal with residents with cognitive disorders and who do not always understand why we sticks a swab in their nose.


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  • The elderly

  • epidemic

  • Chu

  • Ehpad

  • Covid 19

  • Coronavirus

  • Toulouse

  • Health