“Facing another retirement home lockdown, 90-year-old chooses medically  assisted death”
(CTV News – November 19, 2020)
Across Canada. long-term care homes and retirement homes are seeing rising cases of COVID-19….Taking another toll among those who don’t have COVID-19. Residents eat meals in their rooms, have activities and social gatherings cancelled…. These measures, aimed at saving lives, can sometimes be detrimental enough to the overall health of residents that they find themselves looking into other options.
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“Too many patients are still suffering and dying alone”
(Minneapolis Star Tribune — September 16, 2020)
Families are essential to our patients’ lives, and they should be treated as essential.  Before COVID-19, families were often encouraged by the medical team to show up.  Now, we are forcing families to stay away in patients’ time of need and their last moments….
As hospital workers look ahead toward a future with COVID-19, we must balance our new normal with empathy, and a trauma informed approach.  In our efforts to keep our patients physically safe, we must not ignore the emotional harm we are imposing upon them.
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“Florida has new plan to allow some visits to nursing homes”
(Tampa Bay Times — August 19, 2020)
“It may have taken Mary Daniel, chief executive of a Jacksonville company, becoming a dishwasher at her husband’s memory are center, but a state panel of nursing home officials and regulators decided Wednesday to loosen restrictions on visitors at elder care centers after nearly six months of COVID -imposed isolation….

“In three days of hearings, Daniel pointed to the hypocrisy of the state policy, which every day allows thousands of vendors, nursing home staff and even state workers to enter long-term care facilities without proof they are free of the virus but prohibits family members, even those with proof of a negative test, from entering a facility.

“Why am I allowed to touch my husband as a dishwasher, but I’m not allowed to touch him as his wife?….

“The draft agreed to Wednesday considers an ‘essential caregiver’ someone who ‘provides health care services or assistance with activities of daily living,’ including things like dressing, bathing and eating.”
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“New Mexico to expand nursing home visitations”
(KFOX14 — August 9, 2020)
New Mexico officials are working to create gradual re-opening plans for long-term care facilities, including expanding safe visitation at nursing  homes.
[But the guidelines for such visitations are Draconian] as described in the
“Long-Term Care Facility Visitation Plan” effective August 10, 2020.
Its stated goal is to permit one visit per month, by appointment, open window visits or visits using a plexiglass barrier, between a single family member and a COVID-negative resident.
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Canadian Official Report on Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD)
[Euthanasia & Assisted Suicide] Statistics for 2019 — Published July 2020
Official statistics indicate that 5,631 Canadians died of MAiD in 2019. [See pg. 18]
Of those, the nature of suffering reported for 13.7% of patients was isolation or loneliness. [See pg. 32]
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“Mom says she has been suicidal.”
(nj.com — August 2, 2020)
Families say nursing home residents face despair as they struggle with isolation….
With days and weeks slipping by, families and advocacy organizations in New Jersey and nationally are coming together to offer solutions as the pandemic shows no signs of lessening and most restrictions remain in place….
The idea of permitting an “essential caregiver” to visit nursing home residents is gaining momentum in a handful of states.

“Local resident calls for end of nursing home visitation restriction”
(Burnet Bulletin — July 30, 2020)
“By state law, he is isolated in one room as the Covid scare raised its ugly head in our facility.  He is alone, frightened, confused, and most concerning, he is declining.  This quarantine seems similar to solitary confinement in prison, where lack of contact is part of the punishment….
“We are allowed to only see them through the windows of the facility. I have seen residents locked in their rooms crying and clawing at the windows to try and touch and see their families. What are we doing? Are we trying to protect them from dying of the virus, or I ask, is dying of old age, loneliness, fear and panic better?”
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“Hundreds of Sick Canadians Euthanized over Loneliness”
(National Review — July 28, 2020)
That’s about 771 people, or 64 a month, or two per day.
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“States Allow In-Person Nursing Home Visits As Families Charge Residents Die ‘Of Broken Hearts'”
(Kaiser Health News — July 13, 2020)
States across the country are beginning to roll back heart-wrenching policies instituted when the coronavirus pandemic began….
[Article contains a map showing the state by state restrictions.]

“Loneliness and Isolation in Long-Term Care and the COVID-19 Pandemic”
(J. Am. Med.Dir. Assoc. — July 2020)
Social isolation (the objective state of having few social relationships or infrequent social contact with others) and loneliness (a subjective feeling of being isolated) are serious yet underappreciated public health risks that affect a significant portion of the adult population.

“‘Reopening’ to Visitors: A Review of CMS and States’ Guidance to Nursing Homes”
(June 22, 2020 — updated on July 15, 2020)

“Isolated during the pandemic, seniors are dying of loneliness and their families are demanding help”
(Twin Cities Pioneer Press — June 19, 2020)
“Minnesota’s efforts to protect its most vulnerable residents during the coronavirus pandemic, is also having a unintended consequence — the isolation is killing some of them…
“Three Minnesotans, all in their 90s, who died in early June had ‘social isolation’ listed as a cause of death or contributing factor on their death certificates.”
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“How the Coronavirus Pandemic Fuels America’s Loneliness Epidemic”
(U.S. News — April 7, 2020)
“[W]ith the nationwide spread of COVID-19 forcing travel restrictions, community center closures and shutdowns of entire states, advocates for the elderly warn that social distancing could result in a second, invisible epidemic.”
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