Family 'dumbfounded' after care home refuses window visit for senior's 87th birthday
VANCOUVER -- The request seemed simple.
The family of Leilo Wurm wanted to visit her through a window at her long-term care facility for her 87th birthday this Saturday.
“Just a wave and a song and give her a little dance,” said her daughter Kim Gilati. “There’s going to be fewer and fewer birthdays. Every one is special.”
A window visit wasn’t the family’s original plan, but Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver, where Wurm lives, cancelled all visits almost two weeks ago. The restrictions took effect after some residents showed “flu-like” symptoms, though the care home says no one has tested positive for COVID-19.
Given the circumstances, Wurm’s family thought a window visit for a special occasion would be allowed. They were wrong.
“It was just no, no and no,” a frustrated Gilati told CTV News Vancouver. “I’m just dumbfounded. I don’t know why they’re refusing.”
In an email, Lynn Valley Care Centre told CTV News it has “been working with public health to do the testing for COVID-19.”
“Although all of the test results have come back negative, we have reduced our visitations to essential and end-of-life meetings until further notice,” the care home said.
On Tuesday, B.C.’s Seniors Advocate recommended long-term care residents be allowed more visits, but so far, nothing has changed.
“There are many challenges that need to be overcome. Some of them have to do with the PPE and the staffing requirements and those are coming along,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Thursday, responding to a question from CTV News.
“We have to be so, so careful because outbreaks can spread so rapidly in care homes,” she added.
Wurm’s family says the care home said it would celebrate their mom’s birthday with cake and a song plus some activities. The home also offered a virtual visit for the family, but the family says promises of online visits in the past have not been fulfilled. Gilati said she believes her mother would rather see them in person.
“If you want to put a smile on my mother’s face, you bring her family in,” an emotional Gilati explained.
She said COVID-19 has made it “really convenient for at least this long-term care home to not allow family in because nobody’s watching them.”
Gilati says she used to visit her mom almost every day and now the only people her mom sees are the care home staff.
“They feel they’re her family now and they’ve kind of replaced us,” she said.