Long-term caring facilities are a painful place to be right now (Opinion)
Our mom is in an excellent assisted living facility here in New Jersey. She moved there in January after a hospital stay and three weeks in a rehab facility.
Things were going pretty well at first. One of my three siblings or I would visit her every day. We would take her out for church on Sunday and meals a couple times a week. Then the COVID-19 crisis hit and all of these facilities were put on lockdown.
She is 89 years old and in decent health. She tested positive for the novel coronavirus almost a month ago. After a day or two of mild stomach issues and a brief fever, she recovered ... physically. Not being allowed to see her family and not being allowed out of her room has taken its toll emotionally.
We patiently waited for restrictions to relax so we could at least see her or know that she can socialize even a little bit while there. Testing on the residents and the staff done this past week showed no cases of the virus there, but nothing has changed and there is no light at the end of the tunnel. So we have decided to take her out and have her live with each of us for at least the time being.
When things return to normal, we would love to have her stay there again. The staff is amazing and caring and extremely professional. It's taking a toll on them too. The mandates from the state are crippling places like these. Now it's obvious, it's an over-reaction to early actions ordered by the state of New Jersey to admit positive patients back into these facilities, with disastrous results.
Now, out of "an abundance of caution," the state will not allow these facilities to operate as they see fit. The emotional and mental anguish these rules are causing to residents and families, not to mention the lack of other medical attention the whole state is experiencing, is worse in many cases than the virus. This whole episode was mishandled and bungled from the beginning. Gov. Phil Murphy can issue executive orders after buying a governor's seat, but he can't buy leadership.
Good leadership and smart decisions from the beginning would have avoided the CYA-type of governance that has brought us here. Let's hope we can get mom back on solid footing, being with her family again, and let's hope that Murphy doesn't continue his "never let a good crisis go to waste" leadership style.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy. Any opinions expressed are Dennis' own.
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