Randolph County local expresses concern for elders through pandemic

Published: Aug. 11, 2020 at 6:52 PM EDT
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NORTH CENTRAL, W.Va (WDTV) - With concerns for her father, Randolph County resident Carolyn Postelwait wanted answers from the nursing home where he resided.

“I felt like I wasn’t really being heard, and I felt like things weren’t following proper protocols,” she said.

“I am his daughter and I know my dad and I know when something is wrong with him,” Postelwait said. “The wait and see approach does not work.”

She was then advised to reach out to the state ombudsman program for help, but was told via email they were waiting to receive the proper PPE before they could make visits.

“It made me ill to my stomach to be honest,” Postelwait said. “The one agency that’s suppose to be able to go in anytime and check on people and resolve family concerns at a time that we are in a crisis, and they can’t because they don’t have the equipment needed?”

“Funding for equipment has been allocated for, I don’t understand,” she said.

5 News took Postelwait’s questions to the Legal Aid of West Virginia. A state long-term care ombudsman, Susan Messenger, said they have finally gotten the equipment they need, and although nursing home residents have had the option to connect with them virtually or over the phone, Messenger understands it’s not helpful for everyone.

“We’ve had a lot of discussions with our public health experts trying to get information on how we can do in person visits again because that is an important piece of access to the ombudsman program,” she said.

Postelwait said she is grateful for the services her father has been provided, but she wants to make sure all elders are provided for in a timely manner.

“We need to do better by our elderly population and it’s all of our responsibility, we all owe them that. None of us would be here without that generation,” she said.

Messenger also stated that they are hoping to begin visiting residents in nursing homes sometime next week, but it isn’t official due to the unprecedented times.

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