On March 12, 2020, I was driving to Tennessee so my son could visit with his cousins before his Spring Break ended. As I was driving, I got notification, after notification, on my phone from the long-term care facilities that I visited as a hospice social worker. All of the notifications stated the same thing; they were closing their doors to all visitors for the foreseeable future. In the seven hours it took for me to get to Tennessee, I went from having several facilities to visit when I returned home, to having none. How was I going to be able to do my job? How long was this going to go on? My mind swirled with these questions and more.
My thoughts quickly shifted to my patients who reside in long-term care facilities and their families. How is isolation going to affect them emotionally and how will that affect their overall health? How is this going to affect families who have been tirelessly committed to keeping the relationship with their loved one current? The NPR article, “Banned From Nursing Homes, Families See Shocking Decline In Their Loved Ones,” examines the psychosocial impact that COVID-19 visiting restrictions have had on residents and families.