It’s been a long 11 months for Vermonters in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. But now, there’s a glimmer of hope on the horizon.
“Since we got the news the vaccines were coming though, there’s a bounce in everyone’s step,” said Ted Doyle, spokesperson for LCB senior living. “It’s a completely different ball-game, there’s just a palpable sense of joy.”
LCB Senior Living operates three communities across Vermont. Doyle says even with ramping up the use of i-pads and other technology, residents have struggled with isolation.
“People were missing the hugs and close encounters,” he said. “Even from our own associates who are like family to our residents. Our whole business is about socialization and to have to keep distance from people is really counter intuitive to what we do.”
On Tuesday, Governor Scott’s administration said it’s almost time to re-open the facilities to family members and other visitors.
“Seniors living in long term care facilities have been isolated for far too long and it is our hope to re-establish those social connections as soon as possible,” said health Secretary Mike Smith.
Smith says 85% of residents at Vermont long-term care facilities have now had at least a first dose of vaccine and many have already had their second. The Chief Medical Officer of Genesis Health care, Dr. Richard Feifer, wrote in part:
“We look forward to the time when it becomes safe to lessen various restrictions.
In making those determinations, we will be working closely with local public health officials, and also will be following guidance from the CDC.
“Protecting the lives of our most vulnerable, those residing in nursing homes, remains our top priority.”