The Holiday House care home, located in Petlovo Brdo, at which, according to Kurir's sources, the residents were tortured, tied, and starved, has been closed by the social services inspection team for a period of six months!
In response to the series of articles published by our newspaper in the past seven days, concerned with the horrors that the residents of this home had been facing, the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Policy, headed by Darija Kisić-Tepavčević, acted as a matter of urgency.
The social services inspection team was dispatched to the home, and an unscheduled inspection conducted at this privately owned facility revealed that there were oversights in its operations.
"Failures in maintaining the standard of service provision and violations of the residents' human rights have been identified. As a result, the inspection team has taken the urgent measure of banning the home's operation for a period of six months," the Ministry said in a statement for Kurir.
They added that the inspection team tried yesterday to hand the official decision to the employees present, but they refused to take it.
Moving out the residents
"In line with the Law on General Administrative Procedure, the inspection team left a notice regarding ways in which the decision can be obtained. The Rakovica Municipality Social Services Centre has been notified of the ban on operations for the purposes of taking care of the residents. The deadline for moving out the residents is seven days as of the receipt of the decision," the Ministry said, adding that the social services inspection team had sent all the relevant documents to the Ministry of Interior for further consideration.
Let us point out again that Kurir wrote about the horrors that the frail and elderly residents of this care home faced there. This Pandora's box was opened by Snežana Pantelić, daughter of Zorka Pantelić (82), who died after having stayed at the Holiday House care home. Pantelić was the first to talk to Kurir about finding her mother in a terrible condition seven days after leaving her in the home's care following a hip fracture. She told us that her mother Zorka had been kept in the basement of the home, drugged by tranquilizers, starved, and unwashed. She managed to transfer her mother into a different care home, but Zorka sadly passed away one day later.
Then, Zoran Janković spoke with Kurir about his father's death at the care home, which took place only 15 days after he left him there. Janković alleged that his father had died due to maltreatment and neglect, and that his mother was in a terrible condition after only 21 days spent there, which prompted him to move her into a different home as a matter of urgency.
More people contacted our editorial team in the meantime and talked about similar painful experiences that their loved ones had had at Holiday House.
The neighbours from Petlovo Brdo also spoke with Kurir, saying that they had for years been hearing the cries of the elderly people who were locked in the semi-basement area, which was not intended for the elderly to stay in. This is the area into which the inspection team, accompanied by the police, were unable to get into a day after the first article appeared in Kurir. As the care home manager, Aleksandra Milovanović, alleged for Kurir, the reason for this was that an employee had taken the key with her "by accident". The semi-basement was subsequently emptied overnight, but the inspection team still managed to observe the irregularities.
Zorica Kljačin, who worked at the care home in 2017 as the hygiene officer, confirmed that the semi-basement had been kept under lock and key. She told the whole story of the hell that the tied-up people had been going through, with even water withheld from them in order to avoid having their diapers changed more than once a day.
Snežana Pantelić, daughter of the late Zorka
'They killed my mother, I will sue them with or without the post-mortem'
Snežana Pantelić, daughter of Zorka Pantelić (82), who died after spending seven days at the Holiday House care home, said in a statement for Kurir that she would press charges against the home even before her mother's post-mortem report was available – which, as she had been told, wouldn't be ready before 10 September.
"I'm waiting for the lawyer to bring a legal case against the home as soon as possible, even before the post-mortem report is ready. My mother didn't die because of what she had been diagnosed with 20 years ago, which they're using to cover themselves. She died because – and this was established at another home, where I moved her in a poor state – she was full of tranquilizers and had sores on her body, caused by lying in bed as well as by maltreatment and lack of washing. The Holiday House people killed my mother. I want to see to it that justice is done as soon as possible. The guilt over putting her there is eating me alive, but I was unable to stay by her side 24/7 after she'd had a hip fracture," Pantelić said tearfully.
She also complained about her daughter, Zorka's granddaughter, getting disturbing messages on social media after she posted the articles concerned with this topic that Kurir had published.
'The elderly are neglected and marginalized'
Responding to Kurir's reports on the goings-on at Holiday House, the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, Brankica Janković, pointed out that the elderly are neglected and marginalized more often than other social groups:
"These kinds of stories add to the stigma surrounding the elderly, which is what we discuss in our special Report on the Discrimination of the Elderly, presented in Parliament in May. Let me just reiterate that the elderly have equal rights as citizens, and must be treated the same as everyone else, as well as that discrimination is prohibited. Respecting all their rights holds, of course, for institutions as well. It saddens me to see the elderly being treated as unimportant or insignificant others, as if not everyone would eventually grow old and as if old age wasn't the only certain future for all of us!"
Kurir.rs / Suzana Trajković