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Traveling signs bring isolation awareness for residents in care facilities

The ‘Isolation Kills, Too’ signs have made their way to Bryan.
Published: Sep. 24, 2020 at 6:06 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) -Texas Caregiver for Compromise is a group that’s been working to get plans approved to open long term care facilities.

“It was started to bring awareness to the fact that there are a lot of seniors in nursing facilities who are alone,” said Shannon Williams a Bryan resident.

Williams’ mother, Penny Kipp, has been staying in a local nursing home after having a stroke in December. She says the cause is close to her heart.

“She’d love to have regular visitors you know people to love on her and visit with her. She’s made some comments about feeling like she’s a prisoner. I talked to her yesterday and she said ‘I want you,’ and I couldn’t hear her so I said ‘You want me to what’, she said ‘I want you to come inside,’" said Williams.

Despite COVID-19 restrictions Kipp’s husband Ron visits here several times every day.

“She’s been up in her wheelchair and I can talk to her through the window,” said Kipp. “She’s my world, my life sort of rotates around her.”

As a way to bring awareness to the isolation residents in care facilities are feeling, Texas Caregiver for Compromise created “traveling signs”. The 311 “Isolation Kills, Too!” signs have traveled all across the state and now sit in Willaims’ yard for the next few days before they make their way to Conroe.

“The names on these signs are people who are separated from their families or people who have actually died in facilities apart from their families,” said Williams.

“Isolation is devastating to the patients very very harmful I can see it affecting my wife already,” said Kipp.

The "traveling signs" have reached their next destination... My yard (Bryan, TX). The point of the signs is so that...

Posted by Shannon Williams on Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Gov. Greg Abbott announced last week new visitation guidelines for eligible nursing homes, assisted living facilities, intermediate care facilities, home, and community-based service providers, and inpatient hospice.

Wednesday Texas Human and Health Services provided facilities with guidelines to start putting procedures in place.

In those guidelines, facilities can designate two essential caregivers. Those visitors will be allowed to enter the building after proper PPE training and a negative COVID-19 test within 14 days of the initial visit.

Thursday, Kipp was able to hold his wife again after six months.

“I was able to hug her, you know with masks on,” said Kipp “It was wonderful, it was just wonderful, that’s all I’ve got to say.”

Despite the new changes general visits remain outside, through a window or with the use of plexiglass safety barriers.

Williams says with the ups and downs of COVID-19 she hopes the state continues making guidelines that benefit not only the families but residents too.

“We don’t ever want this to happen again you know a pandemic is unheard of in our lifetime and I think we’ve done the best that we could but I think some things have been overlooked and could be better should we have to lock it down again,” said Williams.

You can find more information about Texas Caregivers for Compromise by clicking here.

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