It has been more than a year since nursing homes allowed visitors inside their facilities.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the most vulnerable, skilled nursing facilities and long-term care facilities in Los Angeles County and across the state suffering higher rates of infection and deaths than many other groups, causing state health officials to lock them down.
Until now, visitations at SNF's have been at a distance, or through a window. Emotions hard to articulate when mother daughter are finally able to reunite without a barrier at Windsor Los Angeles, getting to kiss and hug for the first time in more than a year.
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"Oh man. It's been a year since I've been able to kiss my mom and I'm just so grateful," Malika Ferrell tearfully describes to the NBC4 I-Team when visiting her mother, Jueline Bleavins.
"In order to visit their loved one, they do need to be vaccinated and their loved one needs to be vaccinated as well," Julie Anderson-Black, Windsor SNF Management, said.
"I was very impressed that with how the safety measures were implemented here," Ferrell said.
But not all facilities have received praise; the pandemic exposing weaknesses with government regulation and oversight of skilled nursing facilities according to nursing home advocates and researchers.
"California is not requiring adequate staffing in nursing homes. We must fix that situation," University of San Francisco Professor Emeritus Charlene Harrington, said.
Harrington conducted three different studies of nursing homes in California and Covid infections. She says 75% to 80% of nursing homes do not have proper staffing.
Tony Chicotel from California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform says state legislators are proposing a series of stricter regulations regarding skilled nursing facilities. He says the proposed regulations go beyond oversight that has traditionally been focused on bringing facilities into compliance rather than punishing bad actors.
"If you don't adhere to the regulations and residents suffer, you're going to have to pay," Chicotel says describing one state proposed bill.
Meanwhile, Ferrell and her mother say they continue to rely on quality care and covid protocols at Windsor, leaving them to focus on their visits.
"I'm grateful to be here and to have contact with my daughter," Bleavins said.