'Somebody can't even really give you a hug' - Nursing home residents talk about isolation during task force meeting

The COVID-19 crisis is hitting nursing homes especially hard, as many residents are forced to be isolated from their friends and families.

News 12 Staff

Nov 24, 2020, 12:51 AM

Updated 1,301 days ago

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The COVID-19 crisis is hitting nursing homes especially hard, as many residents are forced to be isolated from their friends and families.
For Jeanette Sullivan-Martinez, it's hard to hold back the tears - living under lockdown in a nursing home.
"I miss the human contact. I really miss, you know, somebody can't even really give you a hug," she says.
A state task force heard from people in long-term care Monday. Residents say they feel like prisoners, with few chances to socialize with each other or their families.
"I know that the staff is looking out for our safety; that's their first and foremost concern. But to be stuck in your room again, it's bringing up all kinds of unhappy thoughts," says Martha Leland, another nursing home resident.
Residents partly blame cuts in staff and workers' hours. The industry says it has had to cut back because occupancy has plummeted to just 74%.
"We had underlying staffing issues prior to COVID, but when the occupancy torpedoed or plummeted, we've heard everything from actual layoffs, but what was much more common was to hours," says Matthew Barrett, of the Connecticut Association of Healthcare Facilities.
Frustrated residents say they've had almost no input in the rules they live by.
"Just because we live in a facility, doesn't mean our minds are gone. Our bodies may not always work the way we want them to, but our hearts and our feelings and our minds are very much alive and well and we have a lot we can contribute to society," Sullivan-Martinez says.
The task force is looking at changes to long-term care facilities. It will issue recommendations to state lawmakers in January.


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