Allowed only to wave from afar, families want long-term care homes to accept visitors again
TORONTO -- The first and second waves of COVID-19 in Canada tore through long-term care homes, causing them to shutter their doors to outside visitors.
Now, with most residents vaccinated, families are wondering when they can visit their loved ones again.
Throughout the pandemic, many have had to rely on waving from a distance and holding up signs to tell their family members in long-term care facilities that they love them. More than a year in, though, families want to reconnect.
“To see my daughters waving to their mother, and their mother waving back with difficulty in a difficult matter, those are images that will haunt me for the rest of my life,” Jacques Nolet, whose wife of 59 years, Micheline Plamondon, is in a Quebec long-term care home, told CTV News.
Jacques and his daughter Brigitte have been allowed to visit as caretakers, but his other three daughters have been waving from afar, and have been told by security to remain off of the property at Champlain-des-Pommetiers. They say they’ve even been yelled at by a nurse for getting too close.
Other residents’ family members have also struggled to gain access, and the home says that they can’t grant any exceptions to the rule.
“Cannot allow exceptions, even if taken one by one,” they told CTV News in a statement.
For now, Jacques and Brigitte spend hours with Plamondon keeping her company and feeding her, but Plamondon’s three other daughters are stuck off the property.
They worry that their mother, who has dementia, won’t recognize them from so far away, and they just want her to be able to see them close enough to see their smiles and waves.
Quebec has said that all long-term care residents have received their second shot of COVID-19 vaccines, but some worry that time with their loved one could be running out, and spent their Mother’s Day waving from a distance.