FREDERICTON—A Riverview, N.B., woman wants an apology after her mother was kicked out of a hospital by security for holding her father’s hand.
Kim Crevatin says her father, Kendyl Terris, has Alzheimer’s and is living at the Moncton Hospital waiting for a nursing home bed. Her father was placed in a nursing home in November 2019, she said, adding that by July 2020, his needs were too much for that facility and he was moved to the hospital.
“When he first went into the hospital, he was on the third floor, which is the family unit,” Crevatin said in an interview Wednesday. “It was nice because all of our family could go and see him again, one at a time. They were letting us sit next to him, hold his hand and give him hugs.”
She said her father speaks very little and communicates best by touch, including holding hands and hugging. “If you hold his hand and try to take it away, he doesn’t want to let go,” she said.
But by Christmas, he was moved to the fifth floor of the hospital, where COVID-19 restrictions didn’t permit contact between patients and visitors. Crevatin said the incident with her mother, Lonny Terris, happened a few days after the holiday.
“She was apparently too close to him and the nurse gave her a hard time,” she said. “It wasn’t the first time she was warned about being too close to him, but it’s really hard for my mother to stay away if he needs his pillow fluffed or he wants someone to hold his hand.”
Crevatin said the nurse called security guards who escorted her out of the hospital. “She was by herself. She was really upset and embarrassed. She was crying,” Crevatin said of her mother, adding that there was no need for such a severe reaction from the hospital.
Crevatin said the family was told the incident would be investigated but has so far heard nothing from the hospital. “I would like to hear an apology from (the nurse) to my mother,” she said. “I think that would be a nice thing to hear.”
Current COVID-19 restrictions prevent family members from visiting her father; they haven’t seen him since early January. Crevatin said parents are able to visit children in the pediatric unit and the same kind of exemption should be made for visits to elderly patients.
On Tuesday, Health Minister Dorothy Shephard said she has heard many pleas to relax rules on hospital visitations. “We in no way want to bear this hardship on families,” she said, “but the fact is the risk is extremely high to open visitation. We must protect our most vulnerable.”
In a statement Wednesday, a spokeswoman for the Horizon Health Network—which includes the Moncton Hospital—said officials are trying to strike a balance between compassion and safety.
“It has been challenging and, in many cases, truly heartbreaking to enforce our protocols,” Geri Geldart, vice-president of clinical services, wrote in an email.
“Nobody enjoys telling someone they can’t see a family member or a loved one, and we all look forward to the day when we will once again be able to open up our hospitals to more visitors,” she wrote.
Crevatin said she has been contacted by a nursing home in Riverview about a possible space opening soon for her father. She said it’s hoped that if he moves there, family members will be able to see him again and hold his hand.
By Kevin Bissett