Families determined to comfort loved ones in nursing homes as CDC guidelines restrict visitations

KIRKLAND, Wash. (CNN) -Family members of patients are trying to show their love without being able to touch them, as nursing homes across the United States are now under temporary visitation and interaction restrictions.

Parkhill and her sister, Carmen Gray, sat outside their mother’s window with a picnic, trying to soothe her on the phone. They say their mother came to the center for rehab from a knee replacement and ended up getting coronavirus. (Source: KOMO/CNN)

The CDC changed their guidelines for nursing homes and long-term care facilities Friday night after President Trump declared a national emergency over the coronavirus outbreak.

The guidelines now urge facilities to restrict all visitations except for “certain compassionate care situations, such as end of life situations.”

"She said she woke up crying this morning,” Bridget Parkhill said, whose mother is in the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington. The center has been linked to 25 coronavirus cases, according to the Associated Press.

Parkhill and her sister, Carmen Gray, sat outside their mother’s window with a picnic, trying to soothe her on the phone. They say their mother came to the center for rehab from a knee replacement and ended up getting coronavirus.

Parkhill says the process has been horrible and both sisters try their best not to show their mother the dread they feel.

“It’s been like a nightmare that I just can’t wake up from,” Parkhill said. “I just want see Mom and talk to her face to face, and laugh with her, and joke with her, and play backgammon and all the stuff we used to do together."

Families are worried their grandparents and parents aren't getting the care they need, especially after hearing the center has lost about a third of their active employees.

Timothy Killian, a spokesperson for the center, reassured them that the “staff is doing all they can with the resources that they have.”

CDC guidelines stated volunteers and non-essential personnel should be restricted as well, the guidelines report, and group activities, including communal dining, should be cancelled.

The guidelines also recommend facilities implement active screening of residents and healthcare personnel for “fever and respiratory symptoms.”

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