Not all on board as Missouri gives nursing homes the OK to accept visitors again

Health

KANSAS CITY, Mo — For many in the metro, one of the most difficult things about the COVID-19 crisis is not seeing loved ones who live in long-term and senior living facilities. But that wait is now over.

The state of Missouri has come out with guidelines for these facilities to allow indoor and outdoor visitations, but not everyone is supportive of the move.

“I think that’s stupid and dangerous, to be honest. It goes like wildfire through these communities,” Blythe Robertson said.

Robertson understands the risk-benefit equation between the dangers of COVID-19 versus isolation. Her father-in-law died of Parkinson’s disease in early August. The Robertson family hadn’t been able to visit him since March.

“He missed precious time with his kids and grandkids up to the end,” Robertson said. “I mean, we would’ve like to have just gone and been together.”

With COVID-19 invading long-term care facilities, the family did what needed to be done to keep Robertson safe from the virus. They continued to protect and help him as they did through his 20-year battle with Parkinson’s disease, but could not physically be there through the final months of his life.

“There are no words,” Robertson said. “I mean, this guy — best grandfather, larger than life literally in every single way. He never met a stranger.”

Cassidy McCrite understands the internal struggle of families like the Robertsons. He owns a senior living facility in the Northland and said Missouri’s new visitation guidelines will add a whole new layer of responsibility for families and people like him. They’re all trying to keep people safe while the virus is still raging.

“We can’t be 100% safe. It would be hard to,” McCrite said.

Each facility is responsible for making its own plan for how to keep people safe during visits, so it could be a while until some facilities resume visitations.

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