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Lift restrictions on visiting loved ones
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To the editor:

As an American Veteran, with over 45 years in health care. I am very concerned by the continued restrictions of our American Rights, in particular Freedom of Worship and the Pursuit of Happiness. Our rights are not suspended during a pandemic. These restrictions have impacted everyone, however, I believe patients and families of those in long-term care and health-care facilities have been impacted the most.  

When I lost my husband in June of 2019, we were blessed to have been surrounded by our family, friends and clergy during his last two months in a long-term care facility. We were able to honor him with a funeral and find closure surrounded by our friends. I would have never guessed that within less than one year, that would become forbidden for other families in the same situation. 

Ironically, on March 11, 2020 (what would have been our 60th anniversary), Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) following State and Federal guidelines, locked down long-term care facilities. Immediately, all visitors including family members were banned from visiting. 

As a registered nurse, with 17 years of experience in Infection Control, I know it is impossible to keep influenza out of facilities. I understand the need to protect the vulnerable, but this includes the ability of family visitors to be able to advocate for their loved one. Family members are an integral part of the care and emotional support for patients. Many patients have shown a significant decline due to the lack of social interaction. It is time to lift these restrictions. 

Teddy Williamson, RN, BSN, retired