Parents of man with cerebral palsy feel B.C.’s COVID-19 rules overlook certain populations

WatchThe parents of a man living in a group home are speaking out after being told that their son will have to spend Christmas alone.

What was supposed to be a long-anticipated reunion with their son, has turned into a bit of a nightmare for one View Royal couple.

Carmell and Tony Nesbitt’s son Scott has cerebral palsy and lives in a group home.

Throughout the pandemic, he’s been part of their bubble and has regularly come home for weekend visits.

However, when Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officials put in stricter measures back in November, Scott was no longer able to be a part of their bubble.

“He cries sometimes because he can’t come home,” Carmell said. “Because he doesn’t really understand the whole concept of why he can’t come home.”

Despite the new orders, the family had hoped that an exception could be made for someone in Scott’s situation. They say he lives in a home with three other full-time residents who are assisted by two caregivers.

While Carmell understands the province’s reasoning to keep everyone safe, she feels families with a member who has disabilities have been overlooked.

“I think we’ve kind of been forgotten. There’s a lot of people who have adult children who are in care, they’re not elderly and they’re all being told they can’t come home for Christmas,” said Carmell.

“Long-term care facilities for elderly people are allowed one essential visitor, where with our son, who’s in a much smaller home and a much less threatening situation, were not allowed,” added Tony.

The family is also claiming that the group home is not allowing visitors inside the facility.

Provincial health regulations call for one essential visitor to be allowed in, however, certain facilities are allowed to implement further measures that they deem necessary.

In a statement to CHEK News the Ministry of Health said certain facilities can put in additional measures they deem to be necessary.

“We know this is a challenging time for families who want to be together for the holidays, but with vaccination underway in B.C. now is not the time to let our guard down,” the ministry said.

The Independent Living Housing Society, the organization that runs the facility where Scott lives, would neither confirm nor deny if they were not allowing visitors.

“We are doing our absolute best to ensure the safety and well-being of the vulnerable individuals we support. We have worked hard to come up with creative solutions so that families can continue to visit their loved ones while we continue to follow all PHO orders,” the housing society said in a statement to CHEK.

The organization also said they plan on reaching out the Nesbitt family directly.



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