We go inside a nursing home on lockdown to let families know how their loved ones are doing. A nurse is speaking out from the frontline of the war on COIVD-19. ‘Misty’ didn’t want to give her real name or name the nursing home she works at to protect the privacy of the patients and their family. But I’ve known her for decades and I wanted her to share what’s really going on inside a local nursing home on lockdown. Many families are heartbroken at being kept from loved ones in hospitals and other facilities.
Nursing home residents are not allowed to have any visitors and contact with anyone outside of the staff is limited to absolutely essential cases. Nursing homes have been hotspots for COVID-19 outbreaks. A nursing home in Washington State is considered the epicenter of the outbreak with 37 deaths so far. Closer to home in Ohio, a Miami County nursing home has seen 23 cases and 3 deaths.
I asked Misty, who is director of nursing at the local facility, what she wants families who are cut off from their loved ones to know. “That they are being taken care of and love. That all their needs are met. They eat well, snack well, and that all medical treatment and therapy continue as before.”
This dedicated nurse says staff is going out of their way to keep nursing home residents occupied. “We keep them updated to what is going on so they are informed. They receive calls from family. We try to do more activities. Chat, visit, anything to fill the void. We are their everything right now.”
Misty says families can be assured that nurses are taking every precaution to protect their loved ones. “They are actually probably safer here. They have been on sort of a lockdown before it was requested. Kudos to my bosses for being proactive. We screen everyone upon entrance for temperatures. Just staff are allowed in.”
She said the facility has added extra activities to keep nursing home residents busy but encouraged relatives to keep in touch. “We want them to know their loved ones are not lonely and are being actively engaged. But they do miss their family and will be thrilled to see them again. I would also encourage an old-fashioned written letter. Cards... phone calls…many ways family can still reach their people to let them know they are still there and still love them.”
Misty says those bothered by having to stay home to prevent the spread of COVID-19 should remember this, “There is a 97 or 98 percent survival rate for most people but those that are immune-compromised, have underlying conditions, or are older are the most vulnerable. We do this for them. The older generations went through a couple of wars to save us. We can stay home a few weeks to save them.”