Family advocates for personal and compassionate care visitors in nursing homes

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SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — For some with loved ones in nursing homes, not only are they worried about their physical health when it comes to COVID-19, but that the safety protocols in place are harming their mental health.

“It’s a daily nightmare,” explained Carol Delisiis. “That’s what we’re living in. A daily nightmare. And I know it’s not just here; it’s all over the country — but I want to hug my mother. I want to kiss her. Before it’s too late.”

According to Delisiis, her mother has Alzheimer’s, and like others who are in nursing homes, is struggling from the social isolation that the coronavirus pandemic has caused. Not only does her mother not understand the virus, but she doesn’t understand why her loved ones can’t come in to the Schenectady Center to visit her.

“My mother is giving up,” said Delisiis. “She wants to see us. Now, we had a plan to see her on the day before Thanksgiving and now we can’t see her, because we just got a call saying that the center was locked down again for 14 days.”

This is standard protocol for nursing homes when an employee tests positive.

“It is so very difficult right now with the holidays coming up and the desire for nursing home residents to see their families and loved ones to see each other in-person,” stated Stephen Hanse, President of the New York State Health Facilities Association. “Our nursing homes have essentially been closed to visitation or limited visitation since early March of this year. So we are going on a significant period of time where residents haven’t been able to see their loved ones in-person.”

For months, Delisiis has been advocating for personal and compassionate care visitors to be allowed in nursing homes.

She’s calling on elected officials to pass a bill that has already been introduced in the state senate that would allow exemptions for family members to help loved ones in nursing homes with everyday tasks such as eating, dressing, and bathing.

According to Steven Hanse, compassionate care is subjective but is being allowed.

“If there is a unique clinical situation where a resident truly has a medical need. and needs that visitation, and again, it’s really a function of the medical judgment of the nursing staff, the medical staff in the facility, then those visits can occur now under the law.”


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