Texas nursing homes reopen with limited visitors, safety measures in place

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Families can finally be reunited with their loved ones, but with some guidelines.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott allowed nursing homes and long term care facilities to reopen their doors on a limited basis starting Thursday, Sept. 24.

“Care is so much more than just medication and physical management, it’s love and support that people need. We’ve been advocating for this for some time to allow families to come and reconnect with the residents in long care,” says Stephanie Bates, director of nurses at Mesa Springs Healthcare Center.

There are several precautions visitors must take before they can schedule and actually visit.

“We’re calling all family members, we’re talking to them about whose going to be the designated essential care givers. Those people are then assigned training with me. We have different blocks of time set up so that I can go over all the prevention and protection and give them a chance to ask me questions,” says Bates.

They are also asking for a copy of a negative COVID-19 test within the last 14 days before visits can be scheduled.

While the anticipation builds for the moment families are reunited, for others it’s just too late.

“I think the isolation from all of that is what accelerated his dementia. He passed away in July, so the last four months of his life I didn’t get to be with him. It was window visits only,” says Jan Ford.

You may remember Jan from several months ago posting signs, making calls, and sending emails to the Governor begging to see her parents.

“I’ve reached out to several other people in the Metroplex that saw my story, contacted me through Facebook and other media. They said they never had any response back from his office either,” says Ford.

Ford’s mother is now in a house they bought, where they can see her anytime.

“I hope they go ahead and open it up because I think we’ve lost more from the isolation and the loneliness than what we’ve protected from COVID, really do,” says Ford.

Governor Abbott announced his latest executive order Sept. 17, which also eased many of the capacity limits for other services.


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