MASSENA, N.Y. (WWNY) - Families are still missing loved ones in nursing homes. So far, not everyone is able to visit. But people are starting to think it’s about time.
Charles Hitchman keeps a photo of the last time he could be with his mother. It was her 83rd birthday – more than a year ago. He realizes why he couldn’t see her at Massena Rehabilitation and Nursing Center much of last year. But now …
“It’s come at the point that we’re over a year and I feel something needs to be done so we can get in and see our family,” he said.
The Massena nursing home has not been able to open for family visits because some staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. It only takes one case and then there are no family visits for two weeks.
“We’ve come to a different time now where the vaccines are out there,” said Hitchman. “We need to revisit this, not a week from now or two weeks from now, this is something that we have to get rolling.”
Nursing homes are hearing more of this from families. They sympathize, but say they must follow new state regulations that came when Governor Cuomo last month announced visits could resume.
“It has been a long year,” said Ike Bogosian, Massena Rehabilitation and Nursing Center administrator. “The residents do need to see their families and I really hope in the coming weeks and months that we can achieve that.”
So far, most nursing homes have only been able to meet the new regulations sporadically at best.
At United Helpers nursing facilities, family visits have been stop and go. But when it’s a go, officials say it has a huge impact.
“They’re are a lot of smiles. There’s some tears of happiness,” said Stacey Cannizzo, United Helpers vice president of clinical and quality services. “They’re just so happy to be there and to be able to see their family members face to face.”
There are hopes that with more people vaccinated and cases dropping, a corner may be turned soon for nursing home visits. Until then, this is all some families have.