WF nursing homes restrictions visitors amid COVID-19 weighs heavy on families’ hearts

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott placed restrictions on visitors at nursing homes unless to provide critical assistance, something Wichita Falls nursing homes have been doing already.

Senior Care Health and Rehabilitation is offering creative ways for families to connect during COVID-19 concerns through window viewings and Skype calls.

Dee McMahan’s brother Michael Wells is getting weaker every day.

Wells has a rare genetic condition called Alpha-1 Antitrypsin

“There’s more to healing than medicine,” McMahan said. “I think it’s that holistic approach of family and support and knowing you’re not alone.”

Wells is in a nursing home and falls in a category of one of the most at-risk for COVID-19.

McMahan and Wells’ wife have been used to seeing and caring for him every day; now they’re not sure when they’ll get the chance to see him again.

“To not be able to be there to put a washcloth on his head or take the covers off his feet ’cause they’re so swollen, we do grieve, we grieve because we can’t be there,” McMahan said.

Face-to-face is moving to a new normal in nursing homes by seeing one another through windows or on a screen.

“We’ve got a little pop-up tent over here with chairs and little misters if the weather turns hot and we have walkie talkies where they can visit through the windows where they can visit with one another and we have a tablet that we’re doing Skype and Facetime,” Senior Care Health and Rehabilitation administrator Kevin Laukhuf said.

Dee Godby is using those walkie talkies to talk with her sister Freda who has been at Senior Care Health and Rehabilitation for two years.

She’s used to visiting her sister at least once a day.

“It’s very difficult because we can come up here whenever we need to want to, and now we can’t,” Godby said.

A move towards protecting the most vulnerable, even when it means taking a step back.

Wells is the pastor at Holliday Assembly of God, he spearheaded the Harvest Food Ministry years ago.

McMahan said her brother wouldn’t want people to focus on him, rather help through the food ministry.

Find information on how to help with the food ministry, here.

Other nursing homes and assisted-living facilities in and around Wichita Falls are taking precautions.

“Hospice of Wichita Falls (HOWF) is committed to the health and safety of our staff, patients, and their families. Our Medical, Leadership and Safety Teams are continuously monitoring updates from our community partners, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO), and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to stay ahead of this virus. Despite COVID-19, HOWF is committed to providing all aspects of end-of-life care to our patients in nursing and care facilities across our 12-county service area. We are updated daily on the regulations for each facility where our patients reside and work with these organizations to meet our regulations for visit frequency and comply with their visitation restrictions, required Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), etc.  This disease has produced unique circumstances that require unique solutions. HOWF is committed to using alternative means of communication for staff who would otherwise visit, such as virtual communications (phone, video-communication, etc.), to allow access to all disciplines within our scope of care.”

Dr. Barbara Murphy, Medical Director, Hospice of Wichita Falls

Advanced Rehab Healthcare of Wichita Falls has restricted visitors as well, click here for more.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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