A Moncton family says hospital COVID-19 visitation restrictions for patients in palliative care need to be more clearly defined to front-line staff after a case of miscommunication kept their loved one from seeing her children.
Tina Baker of Moncton said she had been pleading with staff at the Moncton Hospital to allow her sister, Colleen Cail, to visit with her youngest daughters more frequently while she is in palliative care at the hospital.
“She is at the end of her life and we are fighting to try to get those children in to see her,” said Baker.
The 49-year-old mother of four has terminal breast cancer and is fading fast, Baker said.
Cail’s oldest daughter and son have been allowed to visit with her regularly: “I sit next to her and hold her hand” said 18-year-old Alyce Cail. But she said her younger sisters, Reyce, 11 and Chayce, 9, have only seen their mother once since the beginning of January.
“They are so little, they are so young, and she is so important to them. I don’t get how they can not allow them to be in there with her,” said Alyce.
Baker says she was told by hospital staff that COVID-19 hospital visitation restrictions prohibit children under the age of 12 to visit with patients, even in palliative care.
According to rhe Horizon Health Network, there are no age restrictions on palliative visitors.
“Visitor restrictions are in place during the Red Phase, however, palliative care patients are permitted to have one healthy visitor at a time. Although the list of individuals who are permitted to visit is limited, exceptions are often made for compassionate reasons. Horizon has approved requests from this family for additional visitors, including children.” Geri Geldart, VP Clinical Services, Horizon Health Network
Baker was thrilled with the news but said hospital administrators need to improve their communication to front-line staff because the kids could have lost out on precious time with their mother.
“I need those children to see her while they can still communicate to them,” she said.
Baker added that even amid the confusion of COVID-19, people should not have to fight so hard just to see their loved ones in their dying days.
“You should not have to go through all of these hoops to do that. COVID is hard enough”