PEI

Some P.E.I. families worried as long-term care residents still unable to leave property

Some P.E.I. residents are questioning why the Atlantic bubble is taking place before loosening restrictions for those living in long-term care facilities on the Island.

'They've been well looked after, kept safe but now I think it's time that they let them out'

Elda Campbell says she speaks to her mother in a long-term care facility as often as she can to keep connected, but would love to be able to take her out. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

Some P.E.I. residents are questioning why the Atlantic bubble is taking place before loosening restrictions for those living in long-term care facilities on the Island.

The four Atlantic provinces will open their borders to each other for travel on July 3 with no self-isolation requirements.

Though Phase 4 of the province's ease-back plan allows for increased visitation for those living in long-term care, the people who live in those facilities haven't been able to leave them since mid-March.

The people who spoke with CBC on Friday said that they are not against an Atlantic bubble or the easing of public health restrictions.

They would like to see that same easing applied to those living in long-term care — to allow them to get outside and see more than two designated family members at a time.

'It's been confining'

Elda Campbell is in regular contact with her mother who lives in a long-term care facility.

She has talked on the phone, visited her at the window and recently, been able to visit her in the designated location outside the home.

Campbell said knowing her mother has felt isolated from the rest of the family has been hard, especially when it's not clear when they might get to see her more freely again and how that could work. 

"Well, it's been confining that's for sure," Campbell said. "If we were doing something as a family, mother would, we would take her for drives, we'd go out or she'd come up for a meal … and they're missing all that, everybody is.

"Your family is part of your life and you've got to try and maintain that connection for as long as you're able to."

'We're really concerned because they have never been out to have any interaction in the communities, in their children's homes or even in the car to go for a drive,' says Campbell. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

Campbell said she has written several people in government and to the Chief Public Health Office with her questions and concerns.

Her main question — why interprovincial travel without self-isolation will soon be allowed in Atlantic Canada when residents of long-term care facilities still aren't able to leave the property.

Campbell is asking for restrictions in long-term care facilities to be eased now especially since there are no active cases on the Island. 

"We're really concerned because they have never been out to have any interaction in the communities, in their children's homes or even in the car to go for a drive," Campbell said. 

"It just hasn't happened."

Impacting mental health

Lorna Costain said she is concerned by how long those living in long-term care have been unable to leave the property.

She has a mother and aunt in long-term care and she said it seems to be impacting their mental health.

The province stopped visitation to long-term care facilities in March, but will allow limited inside visits again starting on June 26. (CBC)

"The seniors were getting pretty frustrated and pretty down in the dumps. Depressed because they have been in those homes for all this time," Costain said.

"They have been well looked after, kept safe but now I think it's time that they let them out."

Costain said her mother still has a driver's licence and is looking forward to going for a drive once again.

Phase 4 changes

Starting on Friday with the fourth phase of P.E.I.'s easing of restrictions, indoor visits are allowed at P.E.I.'s private and public long-term care facilities with a limit of two designated visitors per resident.

Officials with Health PEI have said they are working toward more visitation access for those in long-term care.

CBC requested more information on Friday, but was not provided any updated details about what that might look like.

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Jessica Doria-Brown

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