Changes to nursing home restriction changes have many relieved

Changes to nursing home restriction changes have many relieved
Carla Petersen with her wife Sharon, who is currently in a health and rehabilitation center. (Source: Carla Petersen)

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) -Florida is beginning to loosen up restrictions for nursing home visitors.

If a facility has no COVID-19 cases for 14 days straight then family and friends can visit loved ones inside their facility. Visitors must wear PPE. Governor Ron DeSantis became emotional when announcing this decision last week.

“They have loved ones who are in the last stage of their life. They’re not demanding a medical miracle. They’re not having unrealistic expectations, they would just like to be able to say goodbye or to hug somebody,” Governor DeSantis said.

Last month, ABC 7 first talked with Carla Petersen, whose wife is in a health and rehabilitation center. She shared with us the struggle of communicating with her wife Sharon through FaceTime or looking at each other through a window talking on the phone.

“Seeing family. It’s hard not to see them. But more importantly it’s hard not to have that touch. To hold someone’s hand, put your hand on their shoulder, to comb their hair. To do those personal things that are intimate and just speak love,” Petersen said.

Now, her partner has hospice care so she has been able to visit with Sharon over the last couple weeks. But she said she’s excited for other families to be able to finally do little things like celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, or even attend doctors visits.

“I’m excited you know for a lot of things that people couldn’t do. For example, Sharon had a doctors appointment, I couldn’t participate in that doctors appointment about a month and a half ago because the doctor needed to see her, and they needed to talk to the nurse, and they needed to talk to me. And in that point of time I wasn’t allowed in her room and in her space. They couldn’t facilitate that and so I missed out on a doctors appointment. And I think those things are crucial for people in nursing homes and especially for those with illnesses and diseases that are progressive and ongoing,” said Petersen.

With this change, if a staff member of the facility does test positive for COVID-19 all indoor and outdoor visitation must stop if that staff member was in the facility 10 days prior to the positive test.

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