Care home visitor restrictions make Father's Day reunions a challenge
VANCOUVER -- For many, Father's Day is a day best spent with family.
Unfortunately for one Lake Cowichan family, the COVID-19 pandemic has made spending quality time with their loved one almost impossible.
Trevor Gent's father Rob moved into Sunridge Place care home in Duncan a couple of years ago to get help with his dementia.
For most of the time Rob has been in long-term care, Trevor has made regular visits.
"Then the pandemic hit, and from there we haven't been able to see my father since," Trevor told CTV News Vancouver Island.
On Sunday, he made the trip to Sunridge for a "window visit," seeing his dad in person, through glass, for Father's Day. It was a bittersweet moment for Trevor, knowing there was no telling when, exactly, he'd be able to hug his father again.
"It's extremely hard on me," he said. "You know, I think about it every day. It's on my mind all the time: my father being alone, not seeing anybody."
Trevor says he knows Rob is getting quality care at the home, he just wants to know when regular visits can resume.
"I don't understand, at this point, why we can't mask-up, glove-up and go and visit him," Trevor said.
The care home says it's following the rules set by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. Patient visits at long-term care homes have been limited to essential visitors - those providing care to a resident or visiting a loved one who is critically ill - only.
"Unfortunately, I cannot give a timeline to any family members," said Jain Mariyil, site leader at Sunridge Place. "We are hopeful their voices are being heard (by provincial health officials)."
The care home is preparing to offer window visits again next week, Mariyil said, noting that many families have been asking the same questions Trevor has.
"Many families are reaching out to the authorities, so I believe we'll hear some news pretty soon about visitation," Mariyil said.
That news likely won't come soon enough for the next milestone Trevor hopes to spend with his dad.
"It's his birthday on the 27th," Trevor said. "It's his 80th birthday. I mean, it's a pretty big one and he's going to be alone for that, you know? To me, it's just cruel."