Re: It’s time to resume visits, letters June 25
Thank you, J. Reid, for bringing up a subject that does not seem to generate much attention in B.C. by the media, by our health minister, Adrian Dix, or by our medical officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry.
It has been 102 days since my mother’s care home started its lockdown. Family members are restricted to 15 minutes of window visits. Talking on the phone through the window does not work for those with dementia or who are hard of hearing. It is heartbreaking to see my mom’s sad eyes when she is pushed away in her wheelchair by the care aide after each window visit.
Updates from Minister Dix and Dr. Henry provide no useful information to families of care home residents and certainly no information about plans to allow family visits, even though the majority of fatalities from COVID-19 are seniors in care facilities.
It is not just long-term care homes that are on lockdown. Many assisted-living facilities are also in the same situation. It seems the most vulnerable are ignored before, during and, possibly, after, the pandemic. They are suffering from depression and no one is talking about it. Long-term care residents are elderly and may die from non-COVID-19 causes. And they die without seeing their families again and with strangers holding their hands. Prisoners in jail have a better time than them.
Ontario has started allowing visits by family members who test negative for COVID-19. But in B.C., Dr. Henry does not let asymptomatic citizens get tested. If care home staff can enter the homes because they have no fever, then family members with no fever should be allowed to enter.
Or at least, as J. Reid suggests, start with outdoor visits that are now allowed in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. So, British Columbia, it is your turn.
L. Young, White Rock
Editor’s note: On June 30, Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that restrictions around visits to assisted-living and long-term care facilities in B.C. will begin to be lifted within a week to 10 days.