In the only support home in France, an end of life with dignity

Halfway between hospital and home, the support center in Cahuzac-sur-Vère, near Toulouse, is unique in its kind. It welcomes end-of-life or sick people whose condition is stable and does not require hospitalization. In addition to care, residents come looking for listening, well-being and rest. Reporting.

A few notes from Johnny Hallyday escape into the corridor. The door is ajar, we enter the room occupied by Patrick and his dog Lola. For five years, he has suffered from a neurodegenerative disease which paralyzes his muscles, complicates his speech and forces him to a wheelchair. “ The worst thing about this disease is that you are conscious. I see everything », he explains with difficulty. He saw the disease gaining ground and living at home had become impossible.

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For five years, Patrick has suffered from multiple system atrophy, a neurodegenerative disease. © Baptiste Coulon / RFI

This support home is therefore the alternative he wanted: “ Here, we have a lot of support, because it’s getting harder and harder “. This rock fan feels at home in the room he has personalized in his image. Hanging from the ceiling, a disco ball illuminates the room. According to his nurse, “ you have to imagine this house as a home in which twelve people can live “.

Improving the care of patients at the end of life is the objective of the bill which arrives this Monday in the National Assembly. The text provides for assisted suicide under strict conditions for patients suffering from incurable illnesses. It also intends to improve the provision of palliative care. And this involves the development of support homes, modeled on that of Cahuzac-sur-Vère, to accommodate end-of-life or sick people whose condition is stable and does not require hospitalization.

This house, opened a year ago, fills a void between hospital and home, explains its president, Delphine Calicis. “ I was a nurse in the palliative care network for ten yearsshe says. And for people under 60 who were isolated, at home, or because their caregivers were exhausted, apart from the hospital, there was nothing. And so that’s why we decided to create this house. Because there were a lot of people who couldn’t find suitable places to end their days. “.

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Before joining the house, Odette, a former farmer, had never painted her nails. “But the attendants at the house take great care,” laughs the nonagenarian. © Baptiste Coulon / RFI

The advantage of this house is its flexibility: residents come and go whenever they want. Their loved ones have the key to visit them anytime. From her room, Odette, 95, enjoys nature as far as the eye can see, far from the dreaded confinement in a nursing home. “ Here, I have my books, the TV, lots of books… I have my little terrace, it’s great for me! I was too afraid of ending up in a nursing home… We have magnificent sunsets there! “, rejoices the nonagenarian.

The palliative care network can intervene at any time. But these homes remain poorly medicalized, the emphasis being mainly placed on “ well-being, listening, socialexplains Delphine Calicis. They kiss each other every day! » A moment of sharing par excellence, the meal… Always with music. “ He is our DJ, he sets the mood! » The DJ is obviously called Patrick.

Government objective: one support center per department by 2030.

Also listenSupporting the end of life: a bill under debate in France

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