Horry County families call to lift restrictions on nursing home facilities

Local family pleads for McMaster to allow them to visit loved ones in nursing homes

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - There’s nothing like a mother’s love.

For the family and friends of Faith Zeman, they want Gov. Henry McMaster to know her love is definitely worth fighting for.

At the age of 87, Faith is a survivor of COVID-19 currently living at a Conway nursing home. She has four children, that desired to be by her side from the beginning of the pandemic, but they’re forced to support their mother by looking and waving through a glass window.

The family says the loneliness during this pandemic is weighing hard on Faith because she’s refusing to eat or drink, and they’re concerned that she’s given up on living.

Now all four siblings are forced to hold on to the memories before restrictions were placed on nursing homes in March, when the state prohibited families and outside guests from visiting nursing home facilities as a precaution to keep staff and residents safe during the pandemic.

But much can change in four months.

“It’s frustrating that all we can do is look at her through a window and honestly we don’t know how much time she has left,” said her son Don Zeman. “She’s refusing to live, we just got word today that she’s dehydrated.”

“We know it’s from loneliness,” said Jon Zeman, Faith’s son.

Don Odom is a friend of the family and is going through a similar journey. He said he’s limited to seeing his wife at another facility, through a window.

“I have this horrible feeling, she’s not going to know me when they let us back in,” Odom said. “Every time I see her looking through the window, I see a change in her. It’s getting to the point now where she just looks at me and just turns away.”

The families are demanding Gov. McMaster take a harder look at his policies and consider if people can attend large scale events during the pandemic, families looking through the glass windows of nursing home facilities should also have a chance, to love on their loved ones.

“I sent an email to the governor this morning,” said Donna Goodwin, daughter of Faith. “Asking him to take President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence’s’ stance, to not have a ‘one size fits all’ policy. Allow these nursing homes to set up their own requirements and allow people to come in [as they see fit]. Give the authority back to nursing facilities, so they can make the right decision for each individual patient, as needed. Sometimes it’s not needed but sometimes, touch is needed.”

“There are families hurting behind these walls,” Odom said. “We’re about to send our children possibly back to school but yet, [continuing to] keep our families locked down from each other. It’s inhumane governor. It’s just not right. The facilities are doing a wonderful job, they’re doing exactly what they’re told to do but their hands are tied.”

“One of the biggest problems that we’re facing and the facilities are facing is that the facilities’ hands are tied,” Goodwin said. “They can’t allow us inside even though they see the need. And we’re asking the Governor to untie their hands.”

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