Families separated from loved ones in Florida nursing homes for past three months

Published: June 15, 2020 5:45 PM EDT
Updated: June 15, 2020 6:25 PM EDT

Monday marks three months since families have been cut off from visiting their loved ones in nursing homes due to the coronavirus pandemic.

We first shared Tammy Baker and her mother’s story out of Charlotte County in April. Baker’s mom lives in a long-term care facility in the county. Like many families of nursing home residents, she can only visit her mom through the window.

Baker says it’s especially hard right now because her mom’s health is declining, and she told us Monday it has felt like the longest three-month span of her life. But she hangs onto hope that one day, once again, she’ll hold her mom’s hand.

“One visit for one hour a day, even that would be good,” Baker said.

Baker’s mom lives in a Port Charlotte nursing home. At the beginning of the pandemic, Baker visited her mom every day.

“We’re still doing that. Since then, we were not able to crack the window or anything,” Baker said. “We totally have to yell at each other through the window. She’s very hard of hearing so that’s been difficult.”

Added to that, Baker’s mom has Alzheimer’s.

“Just two weeks ago, she was in the hospital for a week with a stroke,” Baker said.

“It’s been a terrible experience,” Baker said. “I wasn’t allowed to go with her at all to the ER. She was in the ER for 30 hours, waiting for a bed.”

And, while Baker understands why the governor put the ban in place to protect people like her mom, she wonders if the heartache isn’t just as dangerous.

“Alzheimer’s patients need stability,” Baker said. “They need repetition, and everything has just been chaotic in the three months she’s been there.”

Baker is still able to video chat with her mom. But, because her mother has a hard time hearing, she says it’s been difficult.

Baker reached out to county commissioners to get an update on their plans when it comes to long-term care facilities. But, so far, she hasn’t heard anything back.

“I definitely have seen a decline in her health,” Baker said. “I hope that she is able to remain with us until I can get in to see her.”