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Time to escape prison-like nursing homes | READER COMMENTARY

A resident sits socially distant outside the Jack Satter House, Wednesday, June 3, 2020, in Revere, Mass. Massachusetts residents with family members in nursing homes and some other long-term care facilities began visiting their loved ones again on Wednesday under new state guidelines meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
A resident sits socially distant outside the Jack Satter House, Wednesday, June 3, 2020, in Revere, Mass. Massachusetts residents with family members in nursing homes and some other long-term care facilities began visiting their loved ones again on Wednesday under new state guidelines meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) (Elise Amendola/AP)

It is time to let our families and friends out of prisonlike quarantine in the long term care nursing facilities. I have personally experienced a good friend being held in his room for months with very little information being given as to when he will be allowed to go out to the patio with a mask on and breathe fresh air or feel the sunshine on his face. My aunt faces the same isolation from family (“What can reopen? What can’t? What you need to know as Maryland moves into Phase 2 of coronavirus recovery,” June 4).

Society needs to remember these people are being imprisoned with no end to their sentence. Families are suffering not seeing their loved ones. Yes, these are unprecedented times and the initial crisis warranted strict isolation but as our communities rebloom and peek out, our institutionalized citizens sit in their “cells” wondering if they are forgotten forever. Status quo is acceptable no longer.

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Research and prior atrocities of isolation are proof that this practice is inhuman. Although it is not the motive of nursing facilities and some do better than others (usually ones for privileged clientele), in reality, they are over-isolating and separating humans from life. This practice can be a major detriment to health and even speed death. We can do better as a community and institutions to think outside the box for safe, creative methods to free our institutionalized human citizenry, not just Zoom calls.

Reach out now to your nursing facility administrators and owners of the facilities let them know you are involved and acting, then contact Gov. Larry Hogan, your local government representatives, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and other family and friends of residents to advocate for the silenced.

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Lisa Viscuso, Phoenix

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