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Looking for a change: Siouxland family goes months without seeing son in care facility

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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - For months, they've kept their doors closed. Nursing homes and care facilities are not allowing visitors in to see their residents because of COVID-19 concerns. But, one Siouxland family worries about the impact the separation is having on their son.

Over the past months, Dawn Drees hasn't been able to see her son at his care facility. Now she's worried for his well being as restrictions for nursing homes and care facilities continue to stay in place.

"My whole purpose of this, is how do we give these people a right too," said Dawn Drees.

"I cannot speak, yet I am able to say the word “Mom” I keep asking for her, but she is not coming”?

Those are the words Dawn Drees shared on social media about her son Stuart. For four months, Stuart, a key member of their family, has been missing.

Stuart has cognitive disabilities and hasn't been able to see his family during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"You know, at first it was fine. I knew that we all want him to be safe, and everybody there to be safe. So, we haven't seen him and they haven't really, even as the economy is opening up, his situation isn't changing any. It's affecting him greatly because he has severe cognitive disabilities. So what he knows, because he can't see and he can't talk, what he knows is routine," said Drees.

That routine, is seeing his family every Sunday, eating dinner, and then going for a drive.

Dawn was able to visit with Stuart outside for just 30 minutes on Tuesday after months of waiting, but she said because his routine has been disrupted for months, Stuart is starting to forget them.

"He didn't know it was us. Because he's fallen out of routine for so long that now he doesn't know. He thought it was just routine, I'm eating supper," she said. "Cognitively, he's learned a new routine. And so it was really heartbreaking. It was. Because I was like, I don't know if he knows me," said Drees.

And that realization weighs heavy on Dawn. She posted on Facebook hoping to get answers.

She said they're not sure what the next steps are, but she hopes a plan will soon be in place.

"I think the government is going to have to figure out a plan for these people. They can't just expect them to stay in these homes and mentally be able to take it. Because they're not going to be able to. They're human beings like the rest of us," said Drees.

Drees said the family has received a lot of support from friends and family during this time.

Drees said for Stuart, mental health, and time with family is just as essential as physical health. She adds she hopes to see change soon.

To check out Dawn's original Facebook post, you can click here.

Emily Schrad

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