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Our sister is in a subacute unit nursing home, and she is developmentally disabled.  We have been unable to see her since visitation was banned.  Now, our mother has fallen into a deep sadness of not being able to see her daughter.  Prior to the pandemic, we would visit regularly to bring her clean clothes, her favorite snacks, and gifts. Not being able to see her has been very difficult.  During the shelter in place, Sandy was found unresponsive and is now in a vegetative state.  We are heartbroken and can only think that had we been able to see her, we may have been able to prevent it because we would have noticed that she was not well, as we have in the past.  How do you explain to Sandy why her family is not there?  Who most understands our sister than her own family?  We know when she is not feeling well, or if she is in pain.  We understand her body language and the way she communicates such as, if she is angry or depressed.  There is no one familiar to her.  It goes both ways, if she is sad, we are sad.

There must be a policy to let one family member visit their loved one with the proper PPE.  We are no different from the nurses or staff inside these facilities.  We are afraid we may lose our sister from loneliness or a health issue that may be overlooked.  Nurses may not understand each patient’s personal needs like their family does.  This is why you need family members present to assist the nurses especially when you have a patient who is unable to communicate.  It is imperative that our sister is able to see us, so she knows that we have not abandoned her.  She is in such a critical state that visitation is vital for her well-being.  If we are not able to visit her, she could die.  Our sister needs us.  She needs to hear our voice.  We are her VOICE.   

How do you tell her we won’t be back for a while?    

When will we see her again?

A san heart is a dead heart.