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Stateline families worry about nursing home residents as COVID-19 cases spike

Published: Oct. 21, 2020 at 6:28 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - When visiting loved ones in nursing homes families rely heavily on outdoor seating areas to interact safely. But what happens when the weather turns cold?

“Do I think my mom could pass? Yes very strongly because of the loneliness,” said Paula Purington, Daughter of a nursing home resident.

Purington’s daily visits to see her mom Alverta at River Bluff Nursing Home were cut off when the pandemic hit due to safety reasons.

“I’ve seen my mom go from very healthy to very very drained and lonely,” Purington said.

Purington now visits with her mom outdoors.

“I saw her today and the first thing was when are you coming back,” Purington said.

But as we approach the winter months the challenge of outdoor visits becomes greater but Purrington says she’s willing to do whatever it takes.

“If that means I have to suit up every time I go in there, get my temperature taken every time I go in and out, let’s do it,” Purington said.

At Wesley Willows they’ve steered clear of COVID-19 but if you take a look at the IDPH numbers for Winnebago County it shows there’ve been 104 deaths in long-term care facilities.

Wesley Willows Director of nursing Helen Dittmer says with the limited number of visitors her staff is coming up with fun activities for residents.

“We have had a donut and apple cider drive-thru conducted by our life and enrichment staff and later today we have a 70th wedding anniversary for a couple,” Dittmer said.

Dittmer says while residents can concentrate on having fun the staff is on top of keeping everyone safe.

“You’ll see the residents are all wearing masks and staff are all wearing the KN95 masks like I’m wearing to not only protect me from you but you from me and we’ve been doing that since March and found it to be successful,” Dittmer said.

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