COVID-19 has forced us all inside to shelter from the spread, but some people are not in the comfort of their own homes, and instead are in nursing homes under the care of others. Even though you trust the workers at their facility, the restrictions on visitations in nursing homes make things difficult for you and your loved one. They might not understand why you’re not visiting, and you might feel guilty for not being able to see them every day like you used to.
You might feel like the virus is far away and has not yet affected Lexington, but recently a staff member of an unnamed nursing home in our county has tested positive. On top of that, at least 152 nursing home residents have been infected and 16 have died. This is where COVID-19 is most dangerous, and why you might feel the need to protect your loved one in a nursing home.
In this time, your main concern is keeping your loved one in a long-term care facility safe since they are part of the population who is most susceptible to the virus. So how can you do that when you can’t physically take care of them? At the Law Office of Todd W. Burris, we know how hard the pandemic is on nursing home residents and their families. Let’s look at some ways that you can protect your loved ones in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic so you can feel helpful and get some peace of mind.
What You Can Do
Nursing homes and long-term care facilities have received guidelines from the CDC that detail the best way to prevent the spread of the virus, so you can rest assured that they are doing what they can to protect your loved one. Right now, the best way for you to protect your loved one is by staying home to stop the spread. But you’re probably still wondering what else you can do.
While the nursing home has their physical health handled, your loved one’s emotional health is still important. If your loved one has their own phone or access to a phone, then it’s important to keep reaching out virtually to them so that they know you are thinking about them and care about their well-being. You can also use these conversations as a tool to make sure that they are receiving the level of care that they need. Other than phone calls, you can still send cards and letters to the facility that will get to them.
If your loved one doesn’t have access to a phone, you might have a hard time reaching them. Depending on the facility’s practices, you might have to appoint only one person in your family as the contact to the nursing home for updates about your loved one’s health. Since they are being flooded with family members reaching out, they might request that only one family member is the point of contact for the resident and staff, and then that family member can spread the information and relay messages to other loved ones.
What You Can’t Do
As mentioned above, nursing homes have restricted visitation to prevent the spread of the virus, so you can’t visit your loved one who is a resident. While this is difficult for you and your loved one, no physical contact is the best way to protect your loved one right now. Staying home, washing your hands, and monitoring symptoms prevents you from spreading the virus to anybody, not just your loved ones.
You might be considering removing your loved one from their long-term care facility so that they can be home with you during this time. Moving your loved one home might seem like the best option for their emotional well-being, but that could sacrifice their physical health. The more movement that your loved one has to go through, the more exposure they could be getting to the virus.
Even though your loved one would not leave the house if you brought them home, you and other family members would still be making trips into public spaces and would put them at an even greater risk of infection. Right now, the constant care and seclusion provided at their nursing home is the best option for their health. In a worst case scenario, the CDC has allowed nursing homes to lift the visitation restriction in an end-of-life situation.
COVID-19 has made many of us rethink our daily tasks, relationships, and what’s really important to us. It’s likely that your loved ones have moved to the forefront of your worries right now, and at the Law Office of Todd. W. Burris, we understand your concern. If you feel your loved one is not getting the treatment they need at their nursing home, then you can still reach out to us virtually to discuss your legal options.
Most of all, we hope you and your loved ones stay safe and healthy through these times.