Thursday, August 27, 2020

Seniors Advocate suggests that nursing home lockdowns may be putting lives at risk.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Isobel Mackenzie
A British Columbia (BC) Seniors Advocate is suggesting that COVID-19 nursing home lockdowns need to change as the lives of many seniors are at risk.

Rob Munro with reported that Seniors Advocate, Isobel Mackenzie, is concerned that the health of thousands of BC nursing home residents may be diminished by lockdown rules restricting family visits. Mackenzie has launched an online survey (Link to the survey) to assess the effect of the lockdown on seniors. 

Munro reported:
Currently only one visitor is allowed and there is a great variety in how different care homes allow those visitors. That has led to cases where close family members have only been able to visit a relative — who seemed healthy before COVID-19 — when they are on their deathbeds. 
There have been 125 long-term care residents who have died from COVID-19 in the past seven months, (in BC) Mackenzie said. But there has also been another 2,000 who have died from other causes, some of which may be related to the lockdown and subsequent isolation and loneliness.
Shirley Turton asked for assisted death
Some elderly residents have asked for assisted death rather than continue living in isolation. Munro states:
Some residents have asked families to help them with assisted suicide because their lives have become unlivable in the isolation they are suffering under since family visits were stopped in March and were only resumed on a very limited basis in July.
Munro reported that Mackenzie is also looking into the protocols
For example, she’s trying to understand why some homes allow visitors once a week in a residents’ rooms versus others that may be once a month and require the visitors to stay two metres away from their loved ones in a common area.
Mackenzie said:
“We want to keep people safe from COVID-19 but what are we keeping them safe for if it’s not to enjoy the rest of their lives?”
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