WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — As the coronavirus crisis hit long term care facilities, family visits were put on hold last March. Now, as Pennsylvania continues to slow the spread of COVID-19, Allied Services in Wilkes-Barre is rolling back the difficult policies.
It’s been a long, nearly five months for families like the Parri family. They are finally able to visit their loved ones with special guidelines in place.
96-year-old Lucille Parri is back to getting in-person visits from her family at Allied Services Meade Street Residence. This interaction is much-needed relief from the day upon day, week upon week frustration of isolation.
“I knew all along that she was very well-cared for. They always engage all of their residents but now I know that mom looks healthy,” said Marylu Wirbicki who is Mrs. Parri’s daughter.
The Wilkes-Barre facility resumed in-person visits two weeks earlier but with precautions.
Visitors must undergo a COVID screening to determine if they are healthy before seeing their loved one. They must also maintain six feet social distance, sanitize their hands and wear masks during the visit which is held outdoors and under supervision.
“At least I see them. It’s better than not seeing them,” said Mrs. Parri. Her son Sam Parri said, “It’s so wonderful to be this close to her. It’s been as you know, Mark, many many months. And for awhile it was probably 50 feet trying to have a conversation with her through a window.”
Christine Ondish, LPN who is the administrator at Allied Services Meade Street Residence said, “To be outside visiting not through a screen, not over FaceTime there’s just a positive flow throughout the entire facility. Everyone is just so much happier now.”
It’s considered a huge step in getting residents reconnected with their families who can visit daily if they’d like.
“I think it’s very, very wonderful that they are able to come here as often as they do,” said Mrs. Parri.
Families like the Parris will be able to continue their visitation outdoors as weather permits. After that, they’ll have to move indoors with only two family members present at a time.
Allied Services says its facilities must remain COVID-free for at least 14 days to maintain in-person visits.