Carolyn Lindley 0

Stop Isolating Grandpa and Grandma

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Almost undivided attention has been given to the protection of our most vulnerable citizens, due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Those at highest risk are those with underlying health conditions and the elderly. Extreme measures have been instituted at long term care facilities to enure that residents are kept as safe as possible from contracting Covid 19. As noble as these efforts are, they have stripped the elderly from having quality of life by forcing them into isolation. Residents of long term care facilities must now dine alone, interact only with staff who are in and out, miss social activities, and worst of all - are denied visitation by family members, even their spouses and partners.

Family members play a critical role in ensuring the safety and well being of their elderly or disabled loved one. Visits to the living quarters of their loved ones affords the opportunity for critical social interaction and allows the patient more privacy in expressing any concerns they may have regarding their care. It also allows the family member to look for any signs of abuse or neglect, such as poor hygiene, bed sores, bruising, unlaundered clothing, unclean living space, etc. Elderly people often need advocacy from a family member to ensure that they are receiving quality care. Even when a facility is top notch, a family member can often assist the facility in knowing how to better care for their loved one.

Strong emotional health is critical in preventing serious illness or helping a patient cope with health concerns. While we recognize that Coronavirus is a lethal killer to the aged, so is isolation. Depression, PTSD, and suicide are all linked to feelings of loneliness and isolation. Other health conditions are worsened by poor emotional health.

Please end the isolation by allowing one family member per week to visit in the resident room of their loved one, for a period of 2-3 hours. This will provide the resident with something to look forward to, give them opportunity to socialize, strengthen family bonds, assist in determination of personal needs, and give peace of mind to the visiting family member and other loved ones.

Of utmost concern is that all CDC guidelines be followed. The visitor must be required to undergo a temperature check before entering the facility, have no symptoms of Covid 19, wear protective garments, and visit only in the room of their loved one. All other areas of the facility should be off limits.

This petition is to Alex Azar, Secretary of the United States Health and Human Services, and underlying agencies that mandate health and safety regulations, including Center for Disease Control and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

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