Health Department puts limits on nursing home visits

Coronavirus New Mexico

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Starting on Saturday, New Mexico is limiting visitors to nursing homes to slow the spread of the coronavirus. People that can enter, can only do so under strict conditions.

For the residents and staff at Wellesley Care Home near Carlisle and Candelaria, the threat of the coronavirus is a big reality.

“Right now we are limiting the entrance of any family members or friends of either residents or staff,” says Michelle Reeves, owner of Wellesley Care Home.

The state’s Department of health ordered nursing homes to start limiting visitors to prevent the potential spread of the coronavirus. The only visitors allowed, are those whose loved ones are receiving end-of-life care.

Still, the Department of Health is requiring temperatures to be taken right at the front door, and turning away anyone with a temperature of more than 100 degrees. Visitors who are allowed, must wash their hands, and be escorted to a patient’s room or around the facility.

All of this, because the elderly are among the most at-risk for serious illness from the coronavirus.

“If you’re in those underlying conditions where you’re at a really higher risk, we really, really want people to understand the risks they’re putting themselves in,” says Mark DiMenna with the city of Albuquerque’s Environmental Health Department.

In the meantime, Wellesley Care Home is working to keep the morale of their residents high, while keeping them in contact with their families as best they can.

“We’re trying to keep communication open via offering computer, internet, FaceTime, telephone, so that families can reach out to our residents,” says Reeves.

The state will also provide cameras and tablets to some nursing homes so families can stay connected during this lock-down period. This order will be enforced for 30-days.

For more information about nursing home visits or to request the use of a camera-tablet link, the Long Term Care Ombudsman is available at 1-866-451-2901.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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