Health minister’s father complains about care for wife with dementia

Junior health minister Martin van Rijn told a television current affairs show on Tuesday night he understands his father’s criticism of the quality of the nursing home where his mother, who has dementia, now lives.

Van Rijn’s father and a neighbour gave an interview to the AD newspaper earlier this week in which they criticised the care their wives are receiving.

On one particular day, Joop van Rijn, 81, said he found his wife and seven other dementia patients alone in the recreation room. The only member of staff had gone off duty at 14.00 hours and the next shift did not start until 16.00 hours.

‘Sometimes, when she stands up, the urine runs down to her ankles,’ he told the paper. The newspaper article did not identify Van Rijn as the minister’s father and he did not appear on the talk show.


‘My father is upset and is worried about his wife,’ the junior minister told talk show Pauw. ‘I try to support him as much as possible.’

Van Rijn said he understood the men’s concerns and that improving nursing home care is about more than money.

‘In the future, nursing homes will have to cope with people with more serious needs. Then we need to organise things differently, with smaller buildings, less management and staff with better qualifications,’ he told the programme.

Earlier the minister issued a statement saying he had made no secret of his personal situation, which was his inspiration for going into politics.

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