Effective immediately, nursing homes across the state are lifting restrictions on visitations. It comes after the state health department adopted the federal guidance. The new rules require all long-term care facilities to allow visitors indoors at all times, regardless of whether or not they’re vaccinated against COVID-19.
Marcella Goheen said she’s grateful that restrictions at New York nursing homes are finally being scaled back.
“It’s an emotional moment because I don’t have to anymore ask permission to see my husband. I don’t have to call and schedule appointments,” Goheen said. “It’s been a long journey and a long fight.”
Goheen has been advocating for family members of residents in facilities for the past two years. Her husband has been a resident of Isabela Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing for five years now. Goheen said that family connections are essential.
“For the residents that cannot speak for themselves and need total care and for someone like my husband, psychosocially, I tell him every day, ‘You didn’t do anything wrong,’” she said, adding, “This whole experience is like we’ve been imprisoning our vulnerable.”
She said the news comes at a perfect time.
“I’m excited. Holiday season is something for everybody, no matter if you’re disabled or not — someone like my husband, who’s vulnerable and who has not had the opportunity to celebrate for the past year, year and a half,” Goheen said.
A spokesperson for the Isabella Center said in a statement, “We know how meaningful this change in regulation will be to our residents and their families. We are very pleased that family members will now be able to visit when they wish and that visits no longer have to be scheduled in advance.”
And while this is a celebratory moment for family members, Goheen said the work isn’t over.
“The truth of the matter is our vulnerable have been the bottom of the totem pole. They were at the bottom of the totem pole during the pandemic and they’re at the bottom now everything has opened up, except for them,” Goheen said.