Lawmakers seeking a safe way to restore nursing home visitation for families

Published: Jul. 27, 2020 at 11:26 PM CDT
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ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) -

For many in the Permian Basin, loved ones in nursing facilities right now are not allowed visitors inside. State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R) and other state lawmakers have sent a letter to Health and Human Services asking for a way to safely open to family to check on those stuck inside.

From a window, or in a passing parade, it has been a challenge for facilities to keep the more vulnerable safe.

State Representative Landgraf, along with other colleagues have drafted a letter to the acting Commissioner for Health and Human Services.

“In so many cases, I just can’t understand the quarantine or why they can’t have visitors, why they can’t have family members come to visit them. In so many cases that is having a tremendously negative impact on their health,” Rep. Landgraf explained.

The concern to also shared by Mary McCourt, an Alzheimer’s Ambassador for Congressman Mike Conaway.

She worries that family cannot check on loved ones to make sure they are safe and not being harmed physically and emotionally.

“You can’t physically look at a loved one and make sure that they don’t have bedsores, that they’re being turned properly, that they’re eating the way that they should be eating. Because a lot of people with Alzheimer’s forget to eat. That causes depression which causes weight loss,” said McCourt.

McCourt admits that West Texas centers are doing a good job, but there have been some cases in other parts of the state.

“I have a grandmother who is in a memory care unit at a nursing home in Dallas, and she suffers from the same situation that I’ve heard from so many West Texans that have family members who are in a home or assisted living facility. We hear the same heart-breaking stories over and over,” Rep. Landgraf says.

“You can’t go int here and sit with that loved one and hold their hand. I used to go feed my Dad at least one meal a day so I knew he was eating. But yeah, it’s heart-breaking,” McCourt explains.

Some of the suggestions Lawmakers would like to see include a place to visit that can be cleaned properly after each visit, temperature scans, and even making sure the loved one who visits have a negative COVID-19 test.

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