When state government economic mandates and restrictions hit Texas, citizens organized and fought for their loved ones isolated in nursing homes. In a relatively short amount of time, they’ve made a difference.
Among those most affected from last year’s shutdowns and mandates were residents of long-term care facilities—such as nursing homes and state-assisted living centers—as well as their families outside.
“The COVID–19 crisis and visitation restrictions in long-term care facilities prevented family members from in-person visitations,” said Genny Lutzel of Texas Caregivers for Compromise. “Physicians, dentists, clergy, and ombudsmen were also denied access to residents in facilities[,] creating an opportunity for unchecked neglect and/or abuse.”
The virus was spreading throughout facilities due to staff member transmission to residents, and many of those residents died alone, isolated from their own family members as they drew their last breath.
During the regular session of the 2021 Texas Legislature, a law was passed stating a resident’s designated “essential caregiver” must be allowed visitation, with a few exceptions. In November, Texans will vote on a constitutional amendment that would guarantee the rights to an “essential caregiver” wouldn’t be abridged.
“We have one and only one purpose, and that is to work toward safe and reasonable visitation in long-term care facilities,” Mary Nichols told Texas Scorecard. “I had been prohibited from my mother’s facility since March 13, 2020, and finally got angry enough 95 days later to begin an online petition on June 12.”
Nichols reached out on social media, looking for signatures. That’s how she met Mary Daniel in Florida. Daniel got noticed when she got a job as a dishwasher so
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