Long-term care facilities work to keep residents connected while staying isolated

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Families are being kept away from long-term care facilities to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but keeping residents from feeling isolated is still a priority. It's a balance nursing home workers continue to strike.

Visitors, including family and vendors, have been restricted since the beginning of March at the Virtua Health and Rehabilitation Center in Berlin. Joanne Wilson, vice president of post-acute services, said it's not always best to keep families apart, so there are times when visits are a top priority.

"There are certain family members that are allowed to visit. That has to do with any of our residents in a compromised state, near death, our hospice patients. We have them in a location downstairs in our subacute unit, which provides a private access for family members to visit with their lived ones."

Activities have been increased to keep residents from feeling isolated and depressed, with an emphasis on social distancing and proper hygiene. Video chats are routine, letter writing is encouraged, and loved ones are allowed onto the property to see their mom or dad through the windows.

"We've had instrumentalists play music, we've had families with signage saying, 'I love you, Mom,' bringing them to the windows, talking on the phone so they can exchange comments. It's really worked out well."

While you can't give your mom or dad that hug and kiss you both need right now, it's still possible to connect.