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'It really is a delicate balancing act,' nursing home worker says of decision to allow visitors
SYDNEY, N.S. -- Staff at some nursing homes admit it's a fine line on when the doors should open to allow access to our most vulnerable.
At The Cove Guest Home in Sydney, residents have not had face-to-face contact with family members in nearly three months.
"Our residents are not getting the usual stimulation that they were getting at one time, especially the stimulation that came from the family members, so that's a big change for our residents," said Sheri McPhee, the home's assistant director of care.
McPhee says the home is following all provincial directives, and is making its own plans on how staff will roll that when the green light is given to open their doors to the public.
"It really is a delicate balancing act here," McPhee said. "We know that the residents who live within our walls are the most vulnerable population, and we also know how important it is for family members to see them and spend time with them."
Prince Edward Island is the first province in the Maritimes to allow long-term care facilities to accept visitors.
COVID-19 numbers have been much higher in Nova Scotia, led by the large amount of patients and staff affected at Northwood in Halifax.
In a news release on Friday, the province says they have added 23 long-term care beds in Bedford, to meet the needs caused by the pandemic. They go on to say that some long-term care facilities have slowed or stopped admissions altogether because of COVID-19.
Bernie Larusic is a seniors advocate and is worried about the care residents are receiving after a report from the Canadian Armed Forces outlining a litany of problems at some long-term care homes in Ontario and Quebec.
"What I'm feeling is what many are feeling. Sad, sad, sad," Larusic said. "Information is always the most important thing and communications. If it's held up in anyway shape or form, then a lot of ugly stories can come from it."
At The Cove, McPhee admits calls have increased, with family members worried about their loved ones.
"If you can't actually get in through those doors and see what's going on, and you're seeing things on the news, that's not being portrayed in a positive way, it's really going to instill fear in family members who have residents living in long-term care homes," McPhee said.
For now, McPhee says a weekly letter is sent to families to keep them informed, with no word on when the doors might reopen.