Can I be kept from my boyfriend while he's in a nursing home?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

My boyfriend was taken from me by family, and I am not allowed to go to visit while in a nursing home before his death. How do I get closure when the time comes and get to say good-bye and tell him how much I appreciate all he has done for me and that I will always love him when I can't see him?

Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

One thing that may help would be for you to sit down and write a letter to your boyfriend telling him exactly what you would want to say if you were in the same room with him right now. Put it away for a day or two, then look at it again to make sure it seems as right and real as you can make it.

Even if you don't get to see him again, chances are that writing this letter will help you sort through your feelings for him and eventually help give you that sense of closure you need when he is no longer around.

If you feel that it is unfair to deny you the opportunity to visit your boyfriend, consider contacting the nursing home's ombudsman"”an objective sort of advocate for patients"”who should be able to tell you whether there are true medical or legal reasons that might prevent you from seeing him now. The ombudsman may also be able to intervene and give your boyfriend your letter if that seems like a helpful thing to do.

You can find out the name of the ombudsman at the particular nursing home by contacting The National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center at

Finally, take some heart in knowing and believing that the mind and memory work in mysterious ways"”and your boyfriend is probably aware of your good thoughts and wishes for him even if he doesn't hear them directly from you.