For elderly people in nursing homes, visits from family are crucial to mental and emotional health. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s equally important to protect your loved one from illness, while also preserving the safety nursing home staff, residents, and other visitors. Despite these challenges, it is possible to connect with your loved one and ensure they’re emotionally fulfilled during this trying time.
Contact the Home for Instructions
Knowing a nursing home’s rules for visits keeps you and others safe. It also saves you from making a trip only to be told you missed visiting hours, or you were required to make an appointment.
Many facilities only allow visits during certain hours of the day or for special occasions, such as birthdays. Others require family to schedule their visits instead of just walking in, which ensures only a certain number of people occupy a building at the same time.
Follow All Safety Guidance
While the nursing home will provide explicit instructions regarding visits, expect some combination of the following safety measures:
- Social Distancing – Virtually all nursing home and hospitals require a six-foot distance between yourself and others, including your loved one. Maintaining a safe distance lowers the risk COVID-19 will be spread from one person to another.
- Masks/Facial Coverings and Gloves – Face masks prevent respiratory droplets from being transmitted around the facility. You may also be asked to wear gloves during your visit.
- Symptom Screenings – Some facilities require temperature checks before you can gain access to a building. While not a definite indicator of infection, an elevated fever is a symptom of coronavirus. You will also be asked about any other symptoms you’re experiencing, as well as recent travel or possible exposure to infected individuals.
Look for Other Ways to Connect
If the nursing home doesn’t offer in-person visits, ask how you can arrange a virtual one. These visits are conducted via mobile devices and video conferencing apps, which allows you to chat with residents safely, without making physical contact.
If virtual visits aren’t possible, the home may allow visits through windows, with you on the outside and your loved one inside the facility. While not the same as an in-person visit, it still allows for a personal connection between you and your family member. In between visits, calling your loved one on a frequent basis is also beneficial.
There are other steps you can take to protect family members living in nursing homes. When elder abuse or neglect is suspected, don’t hesitate to contact Martinez, Hart, Sanchez & Romero, P.C.so we can help guide your legal strategy. Schedule a consultation with our firm today by calling 505-343-1776.