Families pushing for in-person visits to relatives in nursing ho - FOX34 Lubbock

Families pushing for in-person visits to relatives in nursing homes

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

4 months into lockdown some are feeling left in the dark. 

Families are frustrated, still unable to give a hug or a kiss or even touch their loved ones who live in nursing homes.


Jaime Engler used to visit her father, Earl Foerster, once sometimes even twice a day. She's been his advocate for years now as he suffers from dementia.


"You know, I could look at him, I could visit with the caregivers. I could look at his legs. I could make sure he has his support stockings on. Make sure he's closely shaven. Because if it starts growing out he scratches and it's a problem," Engler explained. 

She argues because she has medical power of attorney, she should be able to see her dad. Even writing a letter to the governor and his task force. 


"The caregivers now are closer to him than his own family and we weren't a family that didn't go see him. We went and saw him on a regular basis," she said. 


While the family has been able to visit through the window or using face time, it's not the same. And it's not just his physical health they're worried about it's his mental health too.


"He's isolated and in his room. He just sleeps. He doesn't eat very much, if he eats at all," Engler said. 


"One of the issues they face is loneliness. Loneliness leads to grief, grief leads to depression," Dr. Michael McPherson said. 


Engler says she is willing to follow whatever guidelines it takes to do an in-person visit. 


"I'm more than willing to do that. I'm begging please let me do that. I'd be more than happy to do, go by any of the guidelines that the caregivers are going by to be able to see my father and to be able to oversee his care," she said.


But lack of PPE and testing continues to be a big concern for healthcare professionals, to consider easing up visitation restrictions.

The reality remains grim for the residents of these facilities. 


"40% of COVID deaths are related to nursing homes. It's a massive number it doesn't seem that it's going away," Dr. McPherson said.

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