Elsie McDermott, 93, is a long-term care resident at River Glen Haven in Sutton, Ont., about 70 kilometres north of Toronto. Her daughter described her mother’s “very serious decline” as a result of her year of isolation in the COVID-19 lockdown. “‘This isn’t living,’ my mother has told me numerous times. And I don’t want to do it any longer,’ she says “Maureen McDermott expressed her opinion. Even in nursing homes where COVID-19 outbreaks had recently occurred, people infected were either asymptomatic or had only mild symptoms, according to Dr. Allison McGeer.
According to McGeer, when it comes to easing restrictions in long-term care, the emergence of COVID-19 variants of concern is a major concern and she also mentioned there appears to be a window of opportunity right now to get residents out of lockdown.
The COVID-19 vaccine appears to protect residents from the most common strains of the virus. It’s still possible that one of the other types of worry will gain traction in the coming months. Long-term care facilities must be ready to reintroduce restrictions if necessary, according to McGeer. For the time being, she says, there appears to be “time until the next variant comes.”