HANNIBAL | Nursing homes around the country are changing the way they operate due to the coronavirus pandemic.
One of the biggest changes for retirement communities and nursing homes is they are no longer accepting visitors.
“The federal government gave us instructions on what we need to do, and that came down to that we can only have essential personnel visit,” said Beth Haven Residential Care CEO Paul Ewert. “What that would mean is family members and volunteers are not allowed to visit.”
The only exception for this policy is when a nursing home patient is at the end of their life, and two family members are allowed to visit as long as they stay in that patient's room.
The new rules have made it a challenge for families to stay in contact with loved ones in nursing care. Phone calls and video chats have been the main source of communication with visits temporarily suspended.
Ewert said some families have been calling their loved ones by telephone and that Beth Haven Residential Care has the ability to do FaceTime calls. “We have also had some families come to visit, that will come to the window to visit or look at each other through the door,” Ewert said. “If they visit through the window, unfortunately because this is a virus that travels through the air, we cannot allow them to open the window.”
Luther Manor Retirement and Nursing Home has a similar no-visitor policy in place, with family members reliant on phone calls and video chats to stay in contact with their loved ones.
“It's real tiring to be shuttered in like this,” said Luther Manor Retirement and Nursing Home administrator Timothy Brooks. “Before this, we had families who would spend hours with their spouse, their fathers and their mothers; and that's really hard on them. We don't like this, but the sooner we can get through this situation, the sooner we can get back to allowing them to come in and be a part of each other's lives again.”