‘Isolation kills, too!’ signs posted in Gregg Co. to raise awareness of nursing home loneliness

‘Isolation kills, too!’ signs posted in Gregg Co. to raise awareness of nursing home loneliness
Raising awareness about COVID-19 isolation (Source: KLTV)

GREGG COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - According to many family members, it is an ongoing problem: Long-term care facility isolation. Residents are unable to have close contact with family because of COVID-19. A Gregg County woman has joined a group that is bringing attention to the issue, and has put about 300 signs in her yard to increase awareness.

Chasity Dillard lives off FM 2087 near Kilgore and liked the sound of what Texas Caregivers for Compromise were doing with simple signs.

“Each sign has a patient’s name on it that has either died while this COVID pandemic is going on in isolation, or is currently in the nursing homes and facilities during this pandemic,” Dillard said.

And there are quite a few of those simple signs that read “Isolation kills, too” that Chasity’s friend, Judy Cace, wanted to host.

“She needed a yard big enough to hold three hundred signs, and with me being in the medical field, I said, ‘you know what, hey, our yard is big so bring them on,’” Dillard said.

She says she wants to help represent the people she feels have no voice right now, and who could be depressed because of extended isolation.

She believes in visits from “a spouse or a child, or the power of attorney to be able to come in and have tactile stimulation to give these residents a hug,” Dillard said.

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission relaxed visitation rules for long-term healthcare facilities on August 6, but physical contact is still not permitted.

And, Dillard thinks, those with cognitive disorders may be the worst affected by the situation.

“...because they forget things in five, ten minutes, and so they don’t realize; and therefore they think that their family has forgotten them,” Dillard said.

And as far as window visits Dillard feels they are just not enough.

“They’re productive, but they’re not good enough,” she said.

Dillard points out that we’re all human.

“And we all go back to that infant thing, you know, where babies love to be held and we all need that when we’re afraid and scared. We all need that tactile stimulation,” Dillard said.

Dillard says the number of signs is increasing, and she’d like to see the day when there’s no reason to post them.

The signs were brought to her property a few days ago, and Wednesday she will deliver them to be posted in another yard in Henderson, and will continue to move around the state.

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