Loved ones disheartened by delayed updates to senior home visiting protocols

Reporter: Anika Henanger Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Credit: WINK News.

People living in nursing homes still want hugs from their loved ones.

A year since the pandemic began, not every facility seems to be allowing it despite people getting the vaccine. Some people are concerned the isolation process if far from over.

A woman who went to extremes to see her husband says something needs to be done about this and as soon as possible.

Mary Daniel saw her husband for the last time a year ago Wednesday before doors at all types of senior-home facilities shut their doors to visitors.

“I was called on March the eleventh, and I was told, ‘You can’t come back,’” said Mary Daniel with Caregivers for Compromise.”

Daniel is able to go back a year later, but her husband can’t leave his facility without 14 days of quarantine afterward.

“That doesn’t make sense anymore,” Daniel said.

What makes sense to Daniel are new guidelines for visits because most people living in nursing homes have been vaccinated.

“If my husband and I are both vaccinated, and CDC says I can be around people without a mask on who are vaccinated, why can’t I take him on Sunday afternoon for a drive outside the facility without him being quarantined?” Daniel said.

In Florida, essential caregivers should be allowed in nursing homes too, but Daniel told us, with no new rules, there’s a lot of confusion. Caregivers end up turned away and their loved ones left alone.

“Every single facility is making their own rule, meaning that everybody out there has a different rule,” Daniel said.

Kristen Knapp, the senior director of strategy and communications with the Florida Health Care Association, told us nursing home managers are doing their best, but agrees they need new regulations.

“We’re regulated by the federal government,” Knapp said. “So until we see some guidance from them in terms of changes, we’re still having to follow those safety protocols.”

We reached out to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. That’s the agency responsible for updating nursing home regulations. A spokesperson told us they needed more time to respond to our questions.

While nursing homes wait for updated protocols during the pandemic, families with loved ones living at these types of homes know isolation waits for no one.

“[My husband] is going to die,” Daniel said. “I’d like him to enjoy life just a little bit before that happens.”

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