Help our residents of NY State Nursing Homes see their Families!!
Governor Cuomo and NY State Legislature:
My father, Thomas F. Greene, a ninety seven year old World War II veteran has resided at Glendale Nursing Home in Schenectady County, New York for several years. He has been an incredible father and friend to my three sister and me. We visited frequently to ensure he had the right level of care, stimulation and a hug and kiss from people that love him. With the outbreak of COVID-19 the state has locked down facilities such as Glendale. Despite best efforts of the facility’s staff, many of the nursing home residents are essentially in a form of solitary confinement with a deep longing to see family members.
We have watched the unintended consequences of these safety measures via FaceTime calls with my father. We end each of these call in a stream of tears as we observe the day to day degradation of my father’s health as a result of isolation and loneliness. Given the current NY State restrictions it is unlikely we will see him for many more months. We fear he may die as a result of the very protections put in place to safeguard his health.
Current visitation protocols require residents and staff to be without COVID-19 for 28 days. This is a difficult burden when cases are isolated. The result is a potential indefinite visitation ban. We know that with outdoor visitation, social distancing and wearing of masks, COVID-19 transmission risk is virtually nil.
We urge you to reconsider visitation rules and reduce the without COVID-19 waiting period from 28 to 14 days consistent with CDC quarantine protocols. The revisions should also require nursing homes to make “safe space” (eg. specifically designated rooms or tents with ingress and egress to the outside) for family visitation with COVID-19 free residents during quarantine periods.