An Erie woman is calling for change among staff of a local hospital as her sister took her final breaths while the family faced visitation miscommunication from health professionals.

Briaunna Malone was live from the control room to tell us what was said to the family and what changes they would like to see for all families in the future.

A local woman is frustrated as she spent the final moments of her sister’s life sorting through communication issues from staff at UPMC Hamot.

Nicole Wodarski’s sister Ashlee had been receiving treatment at UPMC Hamot since late January, until her recent passing on June 16.

The moments before her sisters passing involved miscommunication and confusion among her family from UPMC staff.

Wodarski recalls a nurse practitioner calling her with a poor prognosis while telling her that the family should come to the hospital immediately.

UPMC Hamot currently has a support person visitation policy in place where two people are allowed to visit a family member in the hospital, unless they are in the emergency room, where only one person is allowed.

This has been in place since the beginning of covid.

“Our support person policies have remained the same. We have seen that has kept our patients and our staff safe, and that’s why they’ve remained the same. So people that are visiting should expect to be identified by the patient as the support person,” said Emily Shears, vice president of quality, UPMC Hamot.

Wodarksi says the practitioner told her that all of her family would be able to see her sister to say goodbye once a DNR was signed, but the family’s experience was different upon arrival.

“We got there and they wouldn’t let us past their lobby. We’re like ‘no, this isn’t what we were told. We were told that once these measures were in place that we could swap out two at a time,’ and she’s like no, the receptionist was like ‘no, that’s not how we do it,”‘ said Nicole Wodarski, sister of Ashlee Wodarski.

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Nicole says the experience was frustrating and gut wrenching for the family and she is asking that all staff members of the hospital are informed of the visitation policy to avoid future miscommunication.