Advocates urge the state to relax visit rules at assisted facilities

Advocates say Connecticut assisted living residents are getting sick not from the pandemic, but from a lack of visitors.
"Many of them are still dealing with this every day and still disconnected from family and loved ones," says Mairead Painter, of the Connecticut Long Term Care Ombudsman.
The state's Long-Term Care Committee Tuesday heard that many people are not seeing their doctors or dentists over staffing shortages and fears of infection. As a result, they're losing weight and not getting enough exercise.
"I don't believe that there's any other group of individuals that have been as impacted by COVID-19 as our long-term care residents," says Painter.
At nursing homes, huge numbers of patients are moving out. Social workers say they're worried about if there's enough housing for everyone and enough home caregivers to watch them.
The state has made 241 emergency hires so far this year.
"Family members were calling us with urgency, saying, 'Please assist us in helping Mom get back home, Dad get back home,'" says Dawn Lambert, of the Connecticut Department of Social Services.
There's also the isolation. Family members can visit outside for at least 30 minutes a week, but advocates say it's not enough.
"We have also been asking that they have access to cameras in their rooms," says Painter.
If your loved one needs a caregiver, the state has a one-stop site called My Place CT.