As part of its larger effort to control the potential spread of coronavirus
disease in the north-central Nevada region, Humboldt General Hospital
will significantly restrict visitors to its nursing home.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the critical
new measure last week as a way to keep America’s nursing home residents
safe from COVID-19. The measure follows the newest recommendations from
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
According to HGH Interim Chief Executive Officer Karen Cole, residents
of the Harmony Manor Skilled Nursing and Residential Care Community and
the Quail Corner Life Enrichment Community will no longer receive visitors,
except for compassionate care, such as end-of-life situations.
Non-essential hospital personnel, including volunteers, also will be restricted
from the residential communities. All visitors will be equipped with personal
protective equipment like masks, and the visit will be limited to a specific
HGH Long Term Care Director Robin Gillis said the new measures are CMS’s
latest action to protect America’s seniors, who are at highest risk
for complications from COVID-19. While visitor restrictions may be difficult
for residents and families, she said it is an important temporary measure
for their protection.
“From what we understand from experts on this disease, seniors are
at highest risk for infection and complications, so we are following every
guidance to help reduce those risks,” she said.
Gillis acknowledged that local families, friends and community residents
will be affected by the temporary change.
“We are blessed in this community to have thoughtful people who regularly
surround our residents with their love and care,” she said.
She mentioned the many community organizations, church congregations, youth
groups, student groups and more who routinely visit residents, share their
talents, and drop off goodies and gifts.
“We hope that can continue at some point,” she said, “but
for now we are anxious to follow these recommendations to keep our residents
safe in the face of the spread of COVID-19.”
The change was prompted by real-time information being gathered from experts
on the ground in areas with large numbers of COVID-19 cases, like Washington
and California. According to the CDC, visitors who are ill are among the
most likely sources of introduction of COVID-19 into nursing homes.
“We understand the importance of keeping our residents connected
with their loved ones,” said Gillis. “In lieu of visits, we
suggest phone calls, text messages, letters and cards—anything that
will help assure your loved ones you care and are thinking of them.”
Gillis added that her staff will help residents facilitate those forms
of communication as well. “We will be there to assist,” she said.