Families say 14-day wait to visit loved ones at nursing homes is too long

Families with loved ones in nursing homes across New York are calling for change.

They have been at it, calling for changes to visitation policies for weeks. In some cases, those calls have been growing louder for months – even before Coronavirus caseload was low.

In order for any nursing home to accept visitors, they must first go 14 days without a positive case. That’s 14 days fewer than the regulation earlier in the year, but still too long for some family members, who have gone months without seeing family.

There have been cases reported where those inside nursing homes are declining from the lack of interaction and contact with family members.

It’s called “Failure to thrive,” and other states have created pathways – through physician diagnosis for physical connection. Some of those states, like Texas, allow residents at nursing homes to have a dedicated visitor.

This is different from the ‘end-of-life’ visitation, which is granted on occasion when professionals at those facilities see it coming.

New York State Department of Health told News10NBC that they understand the challenges families are experiencing, but that safety is first priority. ““While we understand the challenges this virus has caused nursing home residents and their families, by adhering to the DOH visitation guidance nursing homes have taken the proper steps to protect residents from COVID-19. As this unprecedented pandemic evolves, we’ll continue to closely monitor the data and review reasonable requests, while also acknowledging that this pandemic is not over and people are still at risk,” DOH told News10NBC.