Nursing Home Residents are Without a Voice!

Nursing Home Residents are Without a Voice!

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Bethany Wagler started this petition to Associate Director of SPICE Evelyn Cook and

Before he became a quadriplegic four years ago, Carl was a 33-year-old little league coach and avid outdoor adventurer who contracted a strange infection near his tailbone which ultimately affected his spinal cord and rendered him paralyzed. Today Carl sits in his bed in a Raleigh nursing home overlooking the staff parking lot and garbage bins where he lives. Carl is one of the 15.5% of residents living in nursing homes in the United States who are under the age of 65. As of today, two employees in Carl’s building have tested positive for the virus, so he is no longer allowed by his facility to leave his room for the next fourteen days. According to Carl, “the walls are closing in” (C. Michaud, personal [facetime] communication, August 15, 2020). Unlike many people in his facility, Carl’s mind is intact, and he knows that the COVID-19 virus pandemic has robbed him of his freedom, and much of his contact with the outside world.

You can see Carl's story on ABC 11 from March 19, 2018:

One RN who works in a Long Term Care facility said this: "My residents are dying.....not from or with COVID........but from failure to thrive. (Some of them even say they are giving up.) In other words from lack of contact with their families, reduced social activities, fearful looks when I wake them up to give them medication while I am wearing a mask, and lack of human contact in general. On a daily basis probably 1/3 of staff are working overtime. We are tired but we still take a few minutes to rub a sore back, touch a cheek, hold a hand...... This is the untold side of elderly with what is happening. So if you think that "we are saving the elderly" with what we are doing.........we are NOT. Dying lonely is still dying."     

Another woman named Susan Lowe who lives in Garner, NC, said her husband is in a local nursing home. She described her frustrations, saying, "In the long-term facility my husband is in, 36 residents and 14 staff tested positive over a month ago and NOT ONE has been sick or hospitalized!! Put protocols in place and OPEN THE DOORS! Had to see my husband on his birthday through a damn window. Broke my heart in a million pieces!" 

No family visits, no volunteers, no gathering for meals, or any social recreation has greatly increased loneliness and isolation for residents over the last 5.5 months.

Residents are being held captive by the government and nursing home administrations yet are testing negative for the virus and few are dying of COVID-19.

The World Health Organization called out this type of treatment as “dehumanizing” in their 2015 document titled World Report on Aging and Health (p.36).

Personal freedom is a basic American ideal and right according to the U.S. Constitution.

"Person-centered care" stresses the importance of honoring the resident’s preferences.

Most cognizant residents want to receive visitors and leave the building to go outside for fresh air yet are not allowed (even prisoners get better treatment).

Virus carried on Aerosol Droplet + Communal Living vs. Fresh Outside Air:

You know which is healthier!!!

Residents are only allowed outside in a dirty, cramped, smoking area (bad for pulmonary & immune systems of vulnerable residents).

Care is given within 6 ft., yet staff goes home, to Wal-Mart, wherever while not working, yet have not transmitted COVID-19 to residents while following testing and PPE protocols!!!!!

Staff is not exclusively working with isolated patients. They ARE moving between floors during the same week; working with both isolated and non-insulated patients.

Masks are worn and testing is done on employees. Therefore, there exists no valid argument against visitors doing the same.

Visitors help lighten the load of caregivers and are often the first to notice signs of elder abuse. According to the WHO (2015, pp. 74-75), 1 out of every 10 residents is a victim (risks only increase with caregiver burn-out).

Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs places ‘Love and Belonging’ as an immediate priority after oxygen, food, and safety (highly regarded as sound psychological, sociological, and ethical nursing rational).

It is inhumane to die alone without family.

Some residents are unable to use Zoom due to physical or mental incapability. It is unfair to suggest this replaces personal visits with family.

Disallowing visitation rights is in direct opposition to The Bill of Rights (NCDHHS) for Nursing Home Residents which states:

Residents have the right to have visitors at any time, and without freedom of restriction according to numbers 8 & 10.

So shouldn’t it be up to the resident to decide what is in their best interest???

Not allowing visitors in Nursing Homes has gone on long enough. Nursing home nurses are reporting ‘failure to thrive’. It is time residents had the freedom and opportunity to socialize with the outside world like normal human beings.

Let's make the people in charge of these decisions AWARE of the injustice and lets help them UNDERSTAND the rational behind what needs to happen for these people!

Join me by signing this petition to HELP END THIS INJUSTICE for residents of nursing homes and their families today!

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At 1,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!