On May 18, 2020, Fort Scott residents, Tara Holt, her husband, Bryan, and her siblings sent a letter to the Kansas House and Senate regarding making allowances for residents of long-term care facilities to see visitors who have been approved, during the pandemic.
Holt sent a copy to fortscott.biz.
It is being published as a letter to the editor.
” I am sharing this letter with you to raise awareness of this situation and asking others to reach out to the Governor and their Legislators,” Holt said. “Lawmakers will meet in Topeka on Thursday, May 21st to wrap-up business. I am told that they are hoping to work on a solution to some of what is addressed in our letter. Our elderly need us to speak out.”
“Dear Kansas Lawmakers,
We are asking for your immediate action to make allowances for residents of long-term care facilities to have an approved list of visitors during this, as well as any potential future, pandemic lockdowns.
While the state acted quickly, and used seemingly prudential judgment, to protect the lives of elderly Kansans, the legislature has to realize that there is more to life than a beating heart and a “one size fits all” lock down is not the answer for Kansas. The residents of these facilities, particularly those that are immobile or bed-ridden,
need to see their loved ones and know that they are not forgotten.
Mental, spiritual, and psychological wellbeing should be as much of a concern for this population as their physical wellbeing.
We give our parents as one example of how people are affected by state directives. They have been married for over 50 years and our mom has been in a nursing home for three years. She has progressive multiple sclerosis and dad is no longer able to care for her. He does, however, come and sit with her every day and make sure that her needs are being met by the staff of the facility.
Now, however, he is reduced to standing outside her closed window (sometimes in the rain) and speaking to her via cell phone for maybe ten minutes a day. This is an unjust and inhumane action! Our dad is no more likely to infect her than any of the staff that work at the
facility, all of whom go home every day and see family members, go to the store and other places in public.
We are requesting legislation that addresses the following:
• Currently, facilities take the temperatures of staff and ask pertinent health questions when they come to work at the facility. Allow this practice for a limited number (2-3) of family
members or “like family” to be with the elderly in their room.
• Place restrictions on litigation so that facilities cannot be sued if one of their residents contracts COVID19.
• Let residents have a say in having visitors. Many of them have lived through way worse than COVID19.
• Modify or remove “social distancing” measures for approved visitors.
Upon speaking with the local health nurse, she said that with the current phase system, phase three would not allow anyone visiting to be within six feet of an elderly person in the nursing home.
So even if you can eventually go in, or if you have a facility bring your loved one outside (which some may not do) you’d still have to stay six feet away. These people need to be hugged and touched so
that they know they are loved.
Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are regulated by the state, so we need the legislature to take action in this instance.
When we think of what is happening here, CRUELTY comes to mind. Please do not allow our elderly people to be isolated and without human touch and love from those dearest to them any longer.
Mr. and Mrs. Bryan and Tara Holt, Fort Scott, Kansas”