A 78-Year-Old Dementia Patient Is Being Evicted From Her Nursing Home For 'Unauthorized' Family Visits

Brittany M. Hughes | November 17, 2020
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A 78-year-old woman with dementia is reportedly being evicted from her nursing home in Great Britain after her daughter dropped by in an unplanned visit and attempted to see her mother through an open patio door, a move that was apparently against the facility’s COVID restrictions.

According to this, Elizabeth Bow, a great-grandmother to 12, has been ordered to leave the Aspen Hill Village in Leeds after the facility said her family made several “unauthorized visits” to see her.

Bow’s daughter reports that the facility’s rules meant to guard residents against the coronavirus have changed several times since the outbreak, going from full lockdowns to eventually permitting family members to visit their elderly relatives while spaced apart and speaking through an open patio door for a few minutes at a time. But at no point were they allowed any physical contact with their loved ones, including a ban on hugs or touching hands.

Bow's family said they did as much as the restrictions would permit.

“We didn’t take advantage and it was all with the blessing of the staff,” Bow’s daughter said. “We did what we were told - which was that we could take 10 or 15 minutes per visit.”

But the facility later restricted visits back to only allowing relatives to speak to residents through a glass window. When her daughter showed up to drop off some items for her mom, she said she noticed the patio door was open and walked toward it to speak to her mother, who she said hadn’t been allowed outside for over a month. That’s when staff intervened and told her it was against the rules and that she needed to leave.

“I burst into tears and asked 'is she a prisoner now?' because she hadn't been out for 39 days,” the daughter said.

Two weeks later, she said she got a call that her mother would have to leave the home, putting the family in the difficult position of finding another care facility in the middle of a pandemic for a woman with dementia.

The nursing home insists it’s because Bow’s family repeatedly refused to comply with their restrictions on visits.

“The resident was asked to leave because her family refuses to comply with our visiting policy,” the nursing home directors said in a statement.

“We appreciate that restrictions placed on visiting is exceptionally difficult for our residents and their loved ones. However, we have a duty of care to ensure the safety of all our residents and to minimize the risk of transmission of the virus into our homes. This requires us to follow government guidance which restricts visiting.”

Since the coronavirus outbreak earlier this year, millions of elderly nursing home residents around the world, including those with dementia, Alzheimers and other illnesses, have been forcibly kept from seeing their family members thanks to harsh restrictions on visitors to keep from spreading the virus among the most vulnerable. Multiple reports have revealed that while elderly patients might be protected from the coronavirus, they’re suffering from lack of physical touch, isolation, depression and a sense of abandonment, all factors that experts have pointed out can contribute to illness, physical decline and even death among seniors.

One Rhode Island woman, who already has a high-paying full-time job, even took the drastic measure of getting a part-time job working in the laundry room of the nursing home where her mother lives as a way around the facility's ban on family visits. The decision gave them the chance to spend precious hours spent together before her mother passed away from Alzheimer's early this month.