By Robert Medley
A Yukon woman’s brother has lived in an area nursing home without visitation from family since March, and the home where he lives in recent days just had an outbreak of COVID-19.
Marla Bennett Miller said there are 42 residents at Tuscany Village Nursing Center in The Village who are positive, including her brother William Mark Johnson. There are also nine staff members who have tested positive, according to the nursing center’s website.
Miller said her brother, who is 69 years-old and previously lived in Warr Acres with his wife, is a type-one diabetic who has lived at the nursing center for a year after having mobility difficulties.
“We had to put him in a nursing home,” she said. She said he also has issued walking and limited eyesight.
Miller said she has had not visited him since March, and residents have been limited to their rooms.
On Nov. 6, she said she was told more than 40 residents had tested positive and a number of employees were positive, according to a healthcare worker who tested her brother.
Johnson uses a wheelchair, and he has had had diarrhea and stomach aches but no fever, she said. He is treated with zinc, vitamin D and vitamin C by a staff doctor and the case is considered mild right now, she said.
She said she would like for him to get better treatment. And she said she is trying to make some arrangements to move him.
“Once he checks negative, we are not leaving him there,” she said.
She said she does not think he is getting adequate nutrition. And there are times he can’t reach a bottle of water, for example, without help.
“He is not mobile. He can’t get to it,” Miller said.
One day his call button was in his wheelchair and he was on his bed, she said.
“I am just trying to get him immediate help,” Miller said.
Miller said since she made a social media post about his living conditions, he has received extra attention at the nursing center by the nursing home staff. But she worries about others who may be living in the same or similar conditions in nursing homes where there is a COVID-19 outbreak.
“Families in general are in the same boat that I am in, and we have no way to go in there and check on our loved ones, and they are not answering their phones. I shouldn’t have to do what I had to do and that was blast them (nursing center) on social media to get him attention,” Miller said.
A spokeswoman for the nursing home released the following statement Wednesday night.
“Tuscany Village’s privacy policies, as well as federal and state law, preclude Tuscany Village from commenting regarding any resident’s medical condition. Tuscany Village investigates all such concerns in conformity with applicable facility policies and regulations and have done so in this instance. With respect to questions regarding the facility’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the facility initiated a COVID-19 management plan in early March in accordance with guidance issued by the federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Oklahoma State Department of Health and other federal, state and local agencies. The program has been revised on an ongoing basis in response to the numerous changes in the agency directives. The health and safety or our residents is of paramount importance to Tuscany Village and we will continue to use our best efforts to provide the highest quality services possible given the numerous and unprecedented challenges that healthcare facilities are confronted with in the face of the pandemic. “
Miller said an emergency hospice nurse has been allowed to visit him, and she helped him hydrate
She said there needs to be more awareness of what nursing home residents are facing in the pandemic.
“We are hiding away our most vulnerable population so that we never see them again, but we are still getting COVID because workers are bringing it in to them and taking it out,” Miller said.
“We have to find a way to support our loved ones in this situation and we just can’t keep them in isolation forever with this kind of care. It is hard on someone to be in a nursing home anyway. He (Johnson) is such a positive and friendly person, and he doesn’t need to be treated this way.”
She is afraid advocates for people in nursing homes are not being allowed inside due to COVID-19 procedures.
Meanwhile, her brother has only been outside about three times since March. The nursing home had a backup generator for power during the recent ice storm, she said.
Miller hopes more attention is given to nursing homes during the pandemic.
Attempts to reach nursing home officials were unsuccessful before press time.