Nursing homes in Texas are now treating their elderly residents as prisoners after the state’s health dept. extended lockdowns until Sept. 29, which is also stopping families from visiting relatives with special needs.
Much like the state’s prison system, elderly residents are being told to stay in their rooms and can only take limited, supervised visits outside due to state-imposed rules by the governor.
One lady, Stephanie, who’s taking care of her intellectually disabled son in a state-managed facility, said she hasn’t see him since March 12, despite the fact the state only takes partial care of him.
“On March 13, I got a call from the facility saying that the governor imposed the visitation restrictions and that we were no longer allowed on campus,” she told Texas Scorecard, adding that her son, Petre, tested positive for the virus on July 7 despite the restrictions.
“Keeping families out did not keep COVID out,” Stephanie added. “Keeping me out did not keep Petre safe.”
In lieu of in-person visits, families are being forced to have virtual “FaceTime” chats with their loved ones, but because many residents lack the cognitive ability to understand a “virtual visit,” they start frantically searching their rooms for the family member whose voice they hear through the computer.
And because they don’t understand what’s going on, residents are living out the last days of their lives wondering why they’re being treated as prisoners and why their families have “abandoned” them.
This prompted over 50 members of the Texas Legislature to sign a letter sent to the state’s health commission stating that “it is time to immediately move forward and put a plan into action to allow limited family visitations inside [assisted living] facilities.”
“The consequences, as we are sure that you are aware, can be deadly,” the letter stated. “Hopeless depression and anxiety and quickly leading to failing physical health among these precious and vulnerable people.”
“We have already lost too many to these policies, and more are on the way.”