ZEPHYRHILLS, Fla. — The state of Florida has not allowed visitors in long-term care facilities since mid-March, making conditions all the more difficult on both residents and loved ones who desperately want to see each other.

What You Need To Know

  • Gov. DeSantis' emergency order does allow for exceptions to be made for end of life situations

  • Facility told Bradley Kizer's family "death must be imminent" for visit to be facilitated

  • Facility statement says policy in accordance with CDC guidelines

  • More coronavirus stories

One family currently experiencing this hardship is that of 84-year-old Bradley Kizer. Kizer was moved into hospice at AdventHealth Care Center Zephyrhills South just before Christmas 2019.

Kizer's granddaughter, Elsie McCombs, said her father’s health continues to decline and nurses have indicated the end could be near. However, McCombs said the family has not been allowed to visit Kizer, despite wording in the governor’s emergency order that makes an exception for end of life situations.

“I feel like why would hospice not be end of life enough,” said McCombs, who shared an email with Spectrum Bay News 9, in which the facility’s administrator said a resident’s passing must be imminent before a visit can be arranged.

McCombs described her family’s biggest fear, should her father’s health take another turn for the worse: “That he’s going to die alone and I’m not going to be able to see him to say goodbye.”

We reached out to the facility for clarification and received the following statement:

“Our residents are particularly vulnerable and protecting their health is our top priority. As we care for them during this COVID-19 pandemic, we are taking many precautions to keep them and our team members safe, including restricting visitors to our facility in accordance with CDC guidelines and government orders. We are also helping our residents stay connected to their loved ones safely, through video chats, calling, texting and other digital means. We provide mobile devices for residents to use if they don’t have one.” – AdventHealth Care Center Zephyrhills South

For more on this story, watch the video above.

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