An online workshop was organised for social care workers on ensuring human rights during the COVID-19 pandemic in social care institutions

12 May 2020

Seimo kontrolieriu istaiga

On May 8, employees of the Human Rights Division of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office organised an online information-consultation workshop for social care workers, during which they discussed ways and means to ensure the rights and safety of residents and employees of social care institutions during the Covid-19 pandemic. Dr Rolanda Valintėlienė, Head of the Public Health Technology Centre of the Institute of Hygiene, and Dr. Daiva Razmuvienė, Chief Specialist of the Communicable Dhiseases Department of the National Public Health Centre talked about safety measures and the peculiarities of the care of residents in social care institutions.

Employees of the Human Rights Division were motivated to organize the online workshop for social care workers not only due to the information received concerning possible virus outbreaks in social care homes, but also by almost one month of performed online monitoring of the human rights situation and communicating directly with social care workers. Vytautas Valentinavičius, the Head of the Human Rights Division, who moderated the workshop, pointed out that the need for such a workshop was revealed by the extent of registration of participants – 227 participants registered for the workshop organised by the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office.

The staff of the Human Rights Division, who organized the seminar, also noticed that such an active involvement of the participants in the workshop was also encouraged by the extremely wide variety of problematic areas. During the seminar, international standards on ensuring human rights in social care institutions as well as measures for control of infection during the Covid-19 pandemic were remembered, and in addition the general epidemiological situation in Lithuania was discussed. The Seimas Ombudsmen's Office also shared thoughts on the organisation of employment based on human rights principles and on the need for additional emotional and psychological assistance during the pandemic.

The scale of the questions raised by the participants during the question-and-answer session in the second part of the workshop revealed that the methodological recommendations provided by the responsible state institutions to social care institutions during the pandemic are not completely clear and understandable to the employees. The organisers of the workshop, with the help of specialists from the National Public Health Centre and the Institute of Hygiene, provided the participants of the workshop with answers to their concerns and extremely sensitive questions related to the human rights and freedoms of the residents of social care institutions.

At the end of the information-consultation workshop, the Head of the Human Rights Division, on behalf of the Seimas Ombudsmen, sincerely thanked the participants for their expressed willingness to cooperate and recalling the functions of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office (National Human Rights Institution) expressed a hope for successful maintenance of close contacts that would help to ensure the human rights and freedoms of the residents of social care institutions during this extremely difficult period of the pandemic.

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