Grandmother goes 5 weeks without visits amid COVID lockdown at Dartmouth General


A Dartmouth lady is calling for change after she was unable to go to her grandmother at the hospital for 5 weeks due to a COVID-19 lockdown at the Dartmouth General Hospital.

Kim Piccott mentioned her 95-year-old grandmother, Evelyn Jeanne Bligh, died final week shortly after getting into palliative care at the hospital. She was capable of go to her grandmother earlier than she died.

Bligh, who glided by her center title, was admitted to hospital for surgical procedure after fracturing a hip Sept. 3. The lockdown started two weeks into her hospital keep.

Piccott mentioned whereas Bligh had been recovering effectively, her well being took a flip when she might not have guests.

“The lady we had seen on Sept. 20 was not the lady we noticed on Oct. 25,” mentioned Piccott. “So, she had misplaced 10 kilos, she was not sporting her enamel, her hair hadn’t been washed or brushed, her arms, her toenails, her fingernails — they have been lengthy … she did not appear effectively stored,” Piccott advised CBC’s Information Morning Halifax on Wednesday.

“… She was simply unhappy, type of withdrawn, did not clearly have something to speak about. And she simply, greater than something, was so completely happy to see us, but additionally so weak at the identical time.”

Piccott mentioned she believes if her grandmother was capable of have only one designated-care particular person to go to through the lockdown, it might have made a distinction as a result of “that may be a crucial piece to affected person restoration.”

Family help wanted

“I really feel when we’ve got a COVID lockdown scenario occurring, the nurses are so short-staffed, they’re attempting their greatest, they are surely,” Piccott mentioned in a followup interview Friday.

“But when you’re not permitting a [power of attorney] or a personal-care particular person to return in and facilitate with all these little each day duties like opening the Boost, placing a straw within the apple juice, serving to to brush the enamel … these components of each day care are being uncared for, they simply haven’t got the workers to do it.”

Piccott mentioned Nova Scotia Health additionally should rethink its present coverage for guests beneath 16. Children beneath 16 are presently not allowed to go to, although there are some exceptions made for compassionate causes.

Bligh at the Dartmouth General Hospital earlier than the COVID-19 lockdown. (Submitted by Kim Piccott)

“Regardless of a COVID lockdown or not, if kids are usually not allowed into the hospital, there are moms and aunts and grandparents which can be within the hospital who are usually not capable of see their kids. And to me, that is incorrect,” Piccott mentioned.

10 outbreaks in 2 months

The Nova Scotia Health Authority mentioned there have been 10 COVID outbreaks within the central zone in September and October. That covers the realm that features the Dartmouth General Hospital.

As of Thursday, there have been no COVID-19 outbreaks within the central zone.

Kim Piccott, proper, on her marriage ceremony day 10 years in the past together with her grandmother. (Submitted by Kim Piccott)

“When there’s an outbreak on a unit, further customer restrictions could also be put in place to assist cease the unfold of COVID-19. This choice is made between the unit, the outbreak administration crew, and the an infection prevention and management crew,” the well being authority advised CBC News in an electronic mail.

“Essential care companions are at all times allowed for compassionate causes, resembling if the affected person is dying. They may also be allowed when they’re wanted for affected person well-being. This choice is made by the care crew.”

Restrictions for important care companions can differ. “Teams contemplate many elements in making these choices, together with whether or not sufferers are in shared rooms, and whether or not there proceed to be new circumstances of COVID-19 on the unit,” based on the e-mail.

Restrictions might be essential, union says

In a press release to CBC News on Thursday, Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union president Janet Hazelton mentioned that whereas households play an necessary function in serving to sufferers heal, there are occasions when “it is in one of the best curiosity of our susceptible populations to reinforce protections throughout instances of heightened threat.”

“We should defer to pointers for an infection, prevention, and controls, even when it means an unfair burden is positioned on nurses and relations.”

But, she mentioned “hospital directors should strike a steadiness between safeguarding staff, sufferers and households whereas not imposing additional hardships by appropriately resourcing our health-care system with extra workers.”

Families valued, Nova Scotia Health says

Piccott mentioned it was necessary to talk out about what occurred due to all of the individuals presently in hospital who’re attempting to get well from surgical procedures and well being situations.

She mentioned she is grateful she was capable of spend time together with her grandmother earlier than she died.

“It was so fantastic to have the times we had put up that COVID lockdown. We did get visits in for the final seven days so I’m grateful for that. I simply want my kids might have been capable of are available in and say their goodbyes,” she mentioned.

Kim Piccott was unable to see her grandmother for 5 weeks after a COVID-19 outbreak at the Dartmouth General Hospital. Piccott mentioned the lockdown solely affected the realm of the hospital the place her grandmother was staying. (Robert Short/CBC)

Piccott mentioned her kids have been granted permission on Wednesday and had deliberate to go to Thursday, nevertheless it was too late.

After listening to Piccott’s story on radio, Linda Spears, a retired nurse from Dartmouth, advised Information Morning she went by an identical expertise together with her ailing husband final spring.

Spears mentioned she was a part of a gaggle that fought to get visitation at long-term care properties, which resulted in her getting designated-care standing.

She mentioned after listening to Piccott’s interview, she was stunned to be taught hospitals did not have an identical coverage.

“There’s no motive why they cannot have it, none in anyway,” Spears mentioned.

Nova Scotia Health eliminated designated COVID-19 items from hospitals over the summer season and switched to a “care-in-place model,” which suggests all sufferers are handled in whichever unit or facility of the hospital that meets their wants, no matter COVID-19 standing.


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