Ehpad Orpea: “We expected to create an electric shock”, confides the author of the survey

A month and a half after its publication, Victor Castanet’s book on the Orpéa group is still in the top 5 of sales in France. A resounding success for this three-year survey, which uncovers serious dysfunctions in facilities for the elderly. Get together.

It all started with an alert. Dysfunctions, cases of food rationing in one of the most luxurious nursing homes in the country, in the suburbs of Paris…”At first we say to ourselves, it is not possible, we continue talking about an establishment that charges about 8,000 euros per month for each resident“, remembers Víctor Castanet. Then the investigation begins. The author realizes that an article will not be enough. It will therefore be a book, 400 pages of investigation and more than 250 witnesses questioned. An updated system, in its most complex operation and in its most shocking realities.

This Wednesday at noon, Víctor Castanet was in lyons for a discussion debate, followed by a signing session. must go to Saint Etienne at the Paris bookstore, starting at 5:30 p.m.

“Witnesses thought he was a mole and that he worked for Orpea”

Beyond the cases of abuse, the survey also describes the shortage of staff and the very high turnover of nursing staff. All this by dissecting the financial management of nursing homes by the world leader in the private sector. The Orpea group manages 200 establishments for the elderly in France.

I did not imagine at first that the investigation would last three years, nor that I would dedicate myself entirely to it.“, explains Victor Castanet, who quickly realizes the magnitude of the situation. “There were investigations, in particular by Médiapart, but without deepening.

It must be said that the subject is complex. And sensitive. The author, well surrounded at the legal level and accompanied by his publisher (Fayard), still had to make some compromises. “I had to remove about fifty names so as not to multiply the demands“, he continues. Finally, the Orpea group has not (yet?) filed a complaint. Aware of the journalist’s investigations in the months after the investigation began, the teams had wanted to contact him… Without this dissuading the author from going to the end.

As for the speech, which has been released since the publication of the book, it has not been easy to transcribe. “Of course there was fear. Fear of losing your job, fear of retaliation. Some people who have worked for the group have signed confidentiality clauses. Other sources had indicated that they wanted to testify and retracted. And then some people thought that I was a mole and that I worked for the group…“The author speaks of great suffering among former employees, cases of post-traumatic stress or suicide attempts.

“Multiplying checks in nursing homes will not be enough”

A law of silence that does not prevent some from being heard, even with their faces uncovered. Víctor Castanet meets them, he prefers to travel to the other end of France instead of talking on the phone: “even for an hour of maintenance, the sources do not give the same in real life.“Then comes the writing of the book,”don’t be sensationalist, but tell a story“, explains the author.

Today, Víctor Castanet says to himself “proud“that the subject has finally been projected in the center of the debates”.We were hoping to create an electrical discharge.

The government, the parliamentarians: they have all taken up the thorny issue of managing nursing homes and caring for the elderly. More checks?Even if they are reinforced, it will not be enough. You have to check the seat. We cannot give so much public money and control so badly“, summarizes the author, who also wants to let justice do its job.

The Government requested a double administrative investigation into the Orpea group, entrusted to the General Inspections of Social Affairs and Finance. “The Igas/IGF mission has successfully completed its work and has raised serious facts, on which the Orpea group must now respond, which acknowledged receipt of the report“, he said on Tuesday in a note to the press to the services of the delegate minister for Autonomy, Brigitte Bourguignon. When the Government receives the final report, “will propose, where appropriate, the legal, financial or administrative follow-up“, added the services of the minister.

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