Families of nursing home residents grow impatient after months without visitation
BATON ROUGE - The family of a nursing home resident was hoping that they would be able to visit their loved one inside the facility under Phase 3 of reopening the state.
Governor John Bel Edwards announced on Friday, Sept. 18, that the state is taking steps to ease rules restricting nursing home visits in Louisiana.
The state says it is following guidance issued by the federal government and allowing nursing homes in some parishes to allow visitation with proper social distancing. The new rules will allow indoor visits at nursing homes in parishes with "no more than 10 percent test positivity and without any new onset of COVID cases in the last 14 days."
Clardy Ashton, 86, is a bedridden quadriplegic who can only communicate non-verbally and is fed through a feeding tube. She lives in the Landmark long-term care facility in Baton Rouge.
Clevetta Adolph says her mother struggles to communicate with her and her sister, Stephanie Anthony.
"She can still understand. She can't communicate it all the time," Adolph said.
Anthony says their mother is so precious to them and while they have been able to see her during the pandemic, a glass window has been between them. Before the widespread of COVID-19, these sisters spent every day by their mother's side. They say the distance is taking a toll on her.
"She's not smiling and all that. It's just seldom now," Adolph said.
"We had such hope that going into Phase 3 everything was going to be alright. That we would be able to go into the nursing home," Anthony said.
According to the Louisiana Department of Health, East Baton Rouge and several neighboring parishes have slipped below 10% positivity in recent weeks. Despite these lower numbers, nursing homes in Baton Rouge are not preparing to allow visitors inside of the facilities any time soon.
Nursing homes allowing visits are recommended to limit the number of visitors allowed inside at one time, and they must be screened for coronavirus symptoms.
Landmark has not announced when they plan to allow visitors back into the facility, but Adolph and Anthony are hopeful that their mother will still be there for them to hold once the pandemic is over.
We certainly have a prayer cirlce and she is covered by guardian angels," Anthony said.