Nursing home visitation still very limited for desperate families

 whec.com  09/16/2020 23:26:38 

“I just keep saying, ma, ma, ma I love you, Ma, over here, I'm here... she doesn't even know we're there,” Brown explained.  

On Tuesday, after six months, Brown was finally able to do an in-person visit. She was initially ecstatic but the excitement turned on a dime.

“I knew I wasn't going to be able to touch her but I didn't realize how torturous and agonizing that it was actually going to be. I couldn't fix her oxygen, I couldn't touch her arm, I couldn't pull her sleeves up to see if she has bruises, I couldn't check her out for myself… the nurse comes in and he can touch her, the director comes in and he can touch her, the social worker comes in and he can touch her. I sat there for an hour sobbing, behind my mask over 10 feet away, just looking at her be non-response,” she recalled.  

It’s a helpless feeling that countless families, who’ve been fighting so hard to get back in to see their loved ones, will be experiencing in the coming weeks during their first in-person visits.

Kim was so heartbroken by her visit, she went home and made posters saying, “Governor Cuomo and Commissioner Zucker, let me hug my mom before she dies” and marched in front of the home for hours.

“I guarantee, as soon as you go through what I went through, you're going to be standing on the corner of your family members nursing home with a sign begging for some reform on this,” Brown tells other families.

Of particular annoyance to her and other family members with loved ones in nursing homes is that visitors must now present a negative COVID test from within the past seven days. Nursing home employees are only required to be tested every two weeks and can touch residents but they cannot.  

In a statement, a spokesman for the NYS Department of Labor tells News10NBC, "Wearing masks and social distancing have proven to be among the most successful COVID prevention measures and close contact is too risky to jeopardize anyone's health.  While we understand the anguish this virus has caused nursing home residents and their families, by adhering to the DOH visitation guidance nursing homes are taking the proper steps to protect residents from COVID-19." 

Brown says without close contact, her mother’s life is in jeopardy too.

“You want me to have a COVID test commissioner? I'll have a COVID test, you want me to stand on my head 10 times? I'll stand on my head 10 times. Whatever I need to do to see my mom and hold her and let her know we're there and we love her before she dies,” she said.

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