Ottawa family pleads for permission to visit loved one at Queensway Carleton Hospital

Each day Sandy Weltman sits in front of a computer ready to talk to her husband Morris, hoping she can help brighten his day.

"We don't need to talk," she said. "I look at him, he looks at me and we’re happy."

He’s been at the Queensway Carleton Hospital for over a year.

In February 2020, Weltman, known as the owner of Ottawa vegetable and fruit store Top Banana, had a bad fall and has been at the hospital for over a year.

Since Ontario’s stricter health measures were implemented in April, the family hasn’t been able to see him in person.

Weltman said her husband suffers from Alzheimer's and it’s getting tougher.

"Most of the time we call he doesn’t know who he's talking to or respond," she said. "He has to see me, has to see you in person."

"I worry he will withdraw, find no reason to wake up, not get up to eat, not be fed and his brain deteriorates the more it's not being stimulated," added daughter Anna Weltman.

The longer the restrictions are in place the more she fears what the isolation will do to the 89-year-old. 

When Weltman’s daughter reached out to the staff at Queensway Carleton Hospital for a solution, she said she was told it has been taken to management. 

"We are piled on with grief and with pain and frustration," said Anna. "We’ve had one option which is the hospital and there hasn’t been anything available to deal with the lockdowns."

In a statement to CTV News Ottawa, the Queensway Carleton Hospital said for the majority of the pandemic, they have been able to have identified care partners visit their loved ones every day for one hour.

They are currently in enhanced visitor restrictions since April 2021, adding that at the moment, the risk of visitors bringing in COVID, however inadvertently, is too great.

"There’s already been cases in this wave where visitors have accidentally infected their loved ones and put roommates at risk. It is important to note that the majority of patients coming to the hospital have not been vaccinated at this time. Limiting visitors has been a tough decision, but we have the responsibility to protect not only any one individual patient, but all the patients in our hospital," said QCH in the statement.

"Even if it’s just a minute. Five minutes. That’s all I ask," said Weltman. "As long as I can touch him, say hello and smile. Then he will feel good and look forward to the next day."