Specialized Information for:

Nursing HomesAssisted Living/Board & Care Home and Community Based Services
Back to News Listing

New Hampshire State Ombudsman, Susan Buxton, Speaks at the State Commission on Aging Meeting about the Harm of Prolonged Isolation for Residents in Long-Term Care Facilities

July 20, 2020

New Hampshire State Long-Term Care Ombudsman, Susan Buxton, speaks at a meeting of the State Commission on Aging about the harm that prolonged isolation is inflicting on residents of the state's long-term care facilities. Susan Buxton said the restrictive visitor rules in place at many nursing homes and assisted living facilities are hurting the very people they’re meant to protect, robbing them of both social interaction and access to outside advocates who can raise issues about the quality of their care.

“Visits from family and friends are vital to the health and well-being of residents in long-term care facilities,” Buxton said. “In addition to providing the social connection and emotional support that all humans need to thrive, visitors provide essential monitoring and care. And yes, visitors into long term care could potentially bring COVID — just like the staff members.”

Buxton said her belief in the urgent need to reassess visiting guidelines is also informed by personal experience: She recently lost her once-vibrant 95-year-old mother at a local assisted living facility, after watching her “decline cognitively on an almost daily basis from the isolation.” “There was no medical event. There was just no more life for her,” Buxton told the commission, through tears. “She died very peacefully, and I’m happy to say I was by her side, but the last three months of her life were dreadful for her. We need to do better than this.”

One proposal backed by Buxton and other advocates would allow New Hampshire long-term care residents to designate a “support visitor” who would be allowed to “visit on-site and provide emotional and other support.”

Read the full article.