Rockland family fights to get caregiver to help man with special needs recover from coronavirus

A Rockland County family is fighting for a caregiver for a loved one who has special needs and is recovering from COVID-19.

News 12 Staff

May 4, 2020, 10:11 PM

Updated 1,483 days ago

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A Rockland County family is fighting for a caregiver for a loved one who has special needs and is recovering from COVID-19.
Hospitals and nursing homes have banned visitors for most patients, but there are exceptions for patients with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
John Guiddy, 58, is a coronavirus survivor. After three weeks at Nyack Hospital, he's now recovering at Northern Manor Multicare Center by himself, like most other people. However, his family says he is special needs, is low-functioning and can't fend for himself.
"Somebody like John who's developmentally disabled and can't fend for themselves, can't take care of himself, they need special care," says his sister Elizabeth Guiddy.
The state Department of Health allows up to two people to provide "patient support" for those with special needs.
Guiddy's overall care is provided by St. Dominic's, but right now it isn't providing support staff in outside facilities, telling News 12 it doesn't want to "put their staff at anymore risk."
Family members can also fill the role, but Elizabeth Guiddy says she was denied that option by Northern Manor.
"It saves a lot of time to have a person you've had around you supporting you to be there with you to support nurses and doctors," says Carlos Martinez, CEO and executive director for Rockland Independent Living Center, Inc. dba BRIDGES.
Martinez says many of these individuals are being denied this.
"It's critical that hospitals and others create the protocols to allow a caregiver to be there with the individual," he says.
Families facing restrictions can reach out for help to advocacy groups like BRIDGES at Info@bridgesrc.org or 845-624-1366.
People can also file a complaint with the New York Attorney General's Office or call the state's help hotline at 1-888-364-3065.
Nyack Hospital denies accusations that it did not allow Guiddy to have a direct support person during his hospitalization, saying in part "At Montefiore Nyack Hospital, the safety and wellbeing of our patients are our priority. We adhere to all regulations for Hospital visitation as provided by the New York State Department of Health. Our visitation policy during the COVID-19 pandemic remains consistent with the most current NYS DOH guidelines, which provide for a patient, including those with intellectual or developmental disabilities and patients with cognitive impairments including dementia, to have one support person at the bedside. For prolonged hospitalizations, two support people may be designated, but only one can be at the bedside at a time. We adhere to visitation regulations, allowing support persons while always supplying necessary staff as is clinically indicated and medically necessary."
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