Confinement at Michael J. Fitzmaurice South Dakota Veterans Home


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — It’s been well recognized that a fallout from the pandemic for the elderly in nursing homes, has been isolation resulting in mental health issues. That was supposed to ease up after residents and staff were vaccinated, but for the South Dakota State Veterans Home in Hot Springs it didn’t.

KELOLAND’s Angela Kennecke has been looking into ongoing quarantines that families say have taken an undue toll on their loved ones, for Wednesday night’s KELOLAND News Investigation.

From social workers to a former housekeeper to family members, we’ve heard concerns about extended lockdowns due to COVID-19 at the Michael J. Fitzmaurice South Dakota Veterans Home and were asked to investigate.

Indeed through November, whenever there was a case of a staff member with a COVID-19 infection at the Michael J. Fitzmaurice South Dakota Veterans Home, an entire unit, plus the one that had common space with it, went into quarantine. That meant that residents were confined to their rooms.

“At the very end of the later part of the quarantine, she just had a blank look and barely acknowledged we were present,” said Vivian Couch, family member.

Vivian and Ken Couch say the extended lockdowns had an extreme negative effect on their elderly loved one.

Coming up tonight in our investigation, “Locked Down and Lonely at the State Veterans Home,” we look at concerns raised to management over extended lockdowns and how a state inspection found that the veterans home was violating the law by not allowing certain kind of visits.

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