Families counting down the days until they can visit loved ones in nursing homes indoors

Families counting down the days until they can visit loved ones in nursing homes indoors

MIAMI VALLEY — Families across Ohio with loved ones in nursing homes are counting down until Oct. 12. That is the date Governor DeWine has set for allowing indoor visitation at nursing homes, for the first time since March.

And while outdoor visitation has been allowed since this summer, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it lonely and difficult chapters for people in long term care facilities…and for their loved ones, unable to be with them.

Tami Fullen of Wapakoneta brought her husband, of 27 years, Ron, to a nursing home in March, not knowing it would be the last time she saw her husband awake and talking.

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“I thought I was sending him in to get help,” she said. “But I was sending him into the lion’s den.”

After months of visits through the window with her husband, Fullen was finally able to be with him as he died. The family presumes he had a stroke.

“I don’t even know if he knew I was there. He never got to say goodbye,” Fullen said. “I never got to talk to him anymore. I just got to sit there and hold his hand and that is it.”

She told News Center 7′s Sean Cudahy she is glad to see the state reopening nursing homes to indoor visits, but questioned whether stringent visitation restrictions were the right decision from the beginning, despite the deadly impact COVID-19 has had in several Miami Valley nursing homes.

“They are dying from isolation. They are dying from depression,” she said. “There’s nothing that can take the place of your family. Your family is your love. And they’ve lost their families.”