The ability of the delta variant to make headway in vaccinations is of concern to nursing home residents and their families. They are wondering about another visitor lockdown.
âI’m concerned another lockdown will further advance his dementia. She absolutely needs everything to be done for her, âsaid Tania Ryea of ââTolland.
Ryea’s mother is in a long-term care facility and in 2020 her dementia progressed.
âMy mom ends up in a wheelchair, she doesn’t feed herself, she doesn’t answer basic questions like what’s my name? Ryea said.
Ryea said she was hesitant about the vaccine, but did so for her mother.
âI can’t count on everyone to be so careful. And it’s scary, if one person tests positive, the whole place is on lockdown, âshe said.
There is currently no vaccine mandate for workers in nursing homes or long-term care facilities.
âRight now, it’s so important for nursing home owners to lead the way and show how important the vaccine is,â said Nora Duncan of AARP.
âThey are private companies, so it’s up to them as I said before, I see nothing more logical than to make sure that these nurses are all vaccinated,â Governor Ned Lamont said.
Athena Health Care Systems, which has 24 nursing homes in Connecticut, has yet to implement a vaccination mandate.
“We continue to advocate for all of our employees to be vaccinated,” said Tim Brown, spokesperson for Athena.
Brown said they had used cash incentives and education, including a one-to-one discussion with their staff about the vaccine.
âWe recently passed 70% and we continue to advocate and educate to improve that number,â Brown said.
Paul Liistro, owner of retirement homes in Manchester and Vernon, said he would force his employees to get vaccinated.
“And we suggest that anyone who does not get the vaccine get tested every week,” Liistro added.
He said they will be penalized if they do not show up for the weekly test and after three citations they have the option to fire an employee.
Currently, nursing home workers are only required to get tested monthly, according to CDC guidelines.
Statewide, the average vaccination rate for nursing home staff is 72%.
âMy fear is that if there’s a lockdown or a lockdown, she’s not getting the demands she needs,â Ryea said.
Nothing replaces human contact.
âShe’s my mom and sometimes I just need a hug from my mom,â Ryea said.