Gov. DeSantis establishes task force to help reunite nursing home patients with loved ones

Reporter: Gail Levy
Published: Updated:
Nursing home patient visits with family (WINK News)

The voices of people and staff in nursing homes are ready to be heard.

“You know, they’re missing their loved ones and just to see them reunite with them would make a big difference,” said Crystal, a caregiver at Arden Courts Assisted Living Facility.

Governor Ron DeSantis, who ordered all long-term living facilities close to all visitors early on in the pandemic, now wants to find a way to let families reunite. He put together a task force to come up with a safe way to make it happen.

“We recognize the toll that not having visitation takes on families and obviously the residents themselves are lonely,” DeSantis said Friday morning.

Caretakers and nurses said they’re all for visitation once again. Recent family visits just haven’t been the same.

So we have maybe a few window visits, just because our residents do have dementia, so it’s a little bit more challenging to understand that concept,” said Luz Hendricks, director of nursing at Arden Courts.

So some facilities try to hang plastic sheets to let families be in the same room, but it’s not the same.

What was it like for you to see them and not be able to touch them,” we asked. “Terrible because they always have their arms out and they want to be hugged and kissed,” said Krina Price, a resident at Pacifica Senior Living.

“Do I miss them? Yes,” said resident Albert Depetro, Jr.

Is it hard not seeing your family right now,” we asked. “Yeah, it is. It’s lonely like you know,” said resident Allan Woolley.

We’re happy to have their family come back with them. We think everybody will feel better,” said Kenya Allen, a MedTech at Pacifica.

Better together, especially in a pandemic.

The governor hopes there’s a way to rapid-test family members, then allow them to see their loved one living in long-term care facilities. The task force will study that and other possible ways to make those visits happen as soon as possible.

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