By: Amy Wadas
SEWICKLEY, Pa. (KDKA) – Robert Polce said he’s very concerned about his mother, 91-year-old Rose Polce. She’s lived at Masonic Village at Sewickley for many years. Robert said he used to visit his mom several times a week but noticed a drastic decline in her health a few months after visitation stopped due to the pandemic.
“She’s been isolated for four months,” said Robert Polce. “March, April, everything was fine. She was still coping, and then went downhill quickly after that. She lost 40 pounds.”
Rose’s granddaughter said she noticed a huge decline on Sunday during their FaceTime session.
“If we could get in and just put our faces back into her life and be present with her, she would start eating again and that would get her on the road to recovery whereas right now she doesn’t have the willpower to continue,” said Jennifer Polce.
The most Jennifer said they can do is FaceTime, but she says it’s not enough.
DYING OF A 💔 HEART: A local family is concerned that’s what happening to their loved one at a local long-term care facility since they haven’t been able to visit her since March due to the pandemic. The story is tonight at 5:30 on @KDKA.
📷: Jennifer Polce pic.twitter.com/cLhRwfYOhl
— Amy Wadas (@AmyWadas) August 4, 2020
“We all need a reason to get out of bed in the morning and unfortunately this worldwide pandemic has required systems of government and providers to take caution in order to make sure people don’t unnecessarily die,” said Pennsylvania State Long-term Care Ombudsman Margaret Barajas.
Margaret Barajas said this is something that’s happening across the United States. The question is, how do these facilities do visitations safely during a pandemic?
“We know there are a number of criteria a facility has to meet with regards to having gone 14 days without active case of COVID in regard to staffing levels,” said Barajas.
“We try to do the best we can managing the compassionate side with the regulatory side and understand it’s so difficult for people not to see loved ones,” said Masonic Village at Sewickley Assistant Executive Director Tracy Leja.
However, Tracy Leja says Masonic Village is working on ways to add in-person visitation, like adding a clear shield in between loved ones during indoor and outdoor visits and requiring everyone to wear a mask and social distance.
The state ombudsman said it’s ultimately up to each facility to determine when they’re ready to add visitors.
Masonic Village at Sewickley hopes to have in-person visitation ready to go by the end of this month.
If you have any concerns about your loved one, you can call the Pennsylvania State Ombudsman’s Office at 717-783-8975 or e-mail at LTC-Ombudsman@pa.gov.