PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Rhode Island woman is frustrated that, even though her grandmother is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, she still can’t visit her at the nursing home where she lives.
Jennifer Paiz said her 85-year-old diabetic grandmother received her second dose of the vaccine a couple of weeks ago. Her grandmother is one of 40,000 Rhode Islanders to be fully vaccinated, according to the Rhode Island Department of Health.
“She’s a tough lady, she has survived three strokes,” Paiz said. “That’s why she’s in there in the first place.”
Paiz said right now, visitors are still not allowed into her grandmother’s nursing home.
“It just hurts me,” she said. “I was going to the nursing home every single day, even if it was for 10 minutes.”
In December, the state launched an Essential Caregiver Program for nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Under the program’s guidelines, it allows a previous caregiver to enter a facility to maintain the physical and mental health of their loved one.
But the guidelines also state that it is up to the discretion of the facility whether to allow visitation. Paiz said that clause hasn’t helped her case.
“If the mask wearing works, if the vaccine works, why can’t I go if my test would be negative? I just don’t understand why I can’t go in there,” she said.
During the state’s weekly coronavirus briefing Thursday, Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott said the percent positivity rate in nursing homes has been trending downward.
“It is the right time to start engaging further about how to more systematically expand the visitation restrictions,” Alexander-Scott said.
Paiz said while she does speak with her grandmother on the phone every day, it’s not the same as seeing her in person.
“I’ve tried everything possible to try and see my grandmother,” she said. “Even through the window, they won’t allow it.”
Paiz is not alone. Several viewers have written into 12 Responds expressing their frustrations with visitation guidelines at nursing homes across the state.