Families, Employees Seek To Balance Safety Of Possible Visits In Nursing Homes

Friday, August 28th 2020, 6:13 pm
By: Amelia Mugavero

TULSA, Okla. -

The governor’s office said that state leaders are discussing whether or not to allow unrestricted visits at nursing homes.

A spokesman at one longer-term care facility said they’re willing to grant more visitations once its safe, but some have said it’s too soon to even have the discussion.

Families with loved ones in nursing homes think it's past time to allow visits.

Kylie Spears and her family come to Covenant Living in Tulsa every week to speak with her grandmother, even with masks and glass between them.

"It just adds happiness to all our weeks," said Spears. "The pros outweigh the cons in this situation because it's safe."

Keith Lindsey said the glass and masks need to stay, after his brother -in-law got COVID-19 living in a long-term care facility in Oklahoma City. He believes nursing facilities should keep restriction in place.

"So that's just in case where even in a protected environment, it can happen," Lindsey said. "If it's an unprotected environment, I'm sure it would be significantly worse."

Lindsey said the big issue is the lack of communication between families of residents and the nursing facilities. 

"I think more communications between the facility and the residence family would go a long way to alleviate some of the concerns that were hearing from certain individuals," Lindsey said. 

Garrett Lee with Covenant Living said the facility uses everything from Facetime to window visits to allow their residents to see loved ones. Lee said they're ready to open their doors even wider if the state says its safe.

"We are trying to balance the obligation that we have to keep the vulnerable adult population safe with knowing the huge value of interacting with her family and love ones has," Lee said.

Lee said they'll adapt if it means more moments spent with loved ones during these challenging times.

"If the state and local officials were to make that decision, we would circle the wagons and figure out how to do that in the safest way possible," Lee said. 

There's no word on when changes might be made, but some Tulsa nursing homes said they hope to have a say in any future discussions.