Family reacts as Maryland allows indoor visits at nursing homes

Under Gov. Larry Hogan’s new orders, effective immediately, Marylanders can now visit loved ones inside of nursing homes, but it comes with some guidelines.

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“This has been extremely hard for her and she doesn’t really understand. She’s 94. She doesn’t get — ‘I lived through blah, blah, blah. Why can’t you come?’” said Lori Barnard, whose grandmother is in a nursing home.

Each day without being by her grandmother’s side is one too many.

“I’m used to seeing her three times a week, so this has been a big struggle for me,” Barnard said.

The four-year stay of Barnard’s grandmother, Louise, at her Mount Airy nursing home rattled as, like many other facilities and areas coronavirus crept in, leaving the entire state grappling over the virus.

“They have to alternate who goes because everything’s timed, but my grandmother is used to somebody being there every day,” Barnard said.

“Across the nation, nursing homes became ground zero in the fight against COVID-19,” Hogan said.

But now, with improving numbers, Hogan is ordering restrictions on indoor visitation at nursing homes to be lifted, effective immediately, but for specific facilities, “…that are not experiencing a current outbreak, or that have not experienced any new positive cases in the last 14 days,” he said.

The news is encouraging for Barnard’s family, who believes the decision could bring them closer to their matriarch.

“I cried. Like, I was so excited. But I also know it’s up to the facility and they are going to do what’s best for her,” Barnard said. “Mentally, more than anything, this wears on the elderly. Like, they’re alone. It’s been a few months, but she asked my mom, ‘Why don’t you care about me anymore? Why did you put me here and you never come see me?’ And that’s heartbreaking.”

“So, it’s heartbreaking, so it’s definitely a step in the right direction,” Barnard said.

Indoor visitation will not be allowed in areas where the positivity rate is more than 10%.


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