DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado leaders are piecing together a plan to allow limited visits to nursing homes in the state in the near future. Since the coronavirus outbreak, visitation by family members and close friends to the majority of such facilities has not been allowed. For more than 80 days, most residents in senior care have spent nearly their entire day isolated in their individual rooms to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

(credit: CBS)

“We know the virus is incredibly deadly inside nursing homes, which is why nursing homes and senior care facilities are taking extraordinary steps to reduce the risk of workers and visitors from bringing the virus in,” Gov. Jared Polis said in a Thursday afternoon news conference

Those drastic actions have raised concerns among some Colorado specialists who work with older adults and fear that their mental health could be jeopardized.

“This is a difficult time for everybody,” Polis said. “It’s also particularly hard on older Coloradans, living in greater fear of a virus that has a greater fatality rate for them living in nursing homes and congregate care facilities, unable to visit with their loved ones.”

Polis announced that the state’s new plan to help address those concerns is called Lifeline Pass. While leaders will spend the next week hashing out the specifics, that general rule will be that outside visits will be allowed for relatives who test negative for COVID-19 and who have no known exposure and don’t have any coronavirus symptoms. The opportunity for a visit would expire 48 hours after a negative test result comes in.

Comments (10)
  1. David Simpson says:

    This Lifeline Pass program must be implemented quickly. My mother is 97. She’s had no visits from her children for 3 months. She doesn’t understand the reason for having no visits and she is heartbroken as she believes her children have deserted her or they are dead. Her mental cognition is diminished and she can barely hear on the phone so any explanation of quarantine is impossible. What is the point of a quarantine if it devastates the very people it is supposed to protect? This is also hastening her death. I know that my mother’s situation is shared by many other seniors. To those in authority, please do something!

  2. Cassandra Kaanana says:

    My mother is in an assisted living home, and I had to reschedule my flight to visit her in May to Sept. I just pray they will lift this lock down by then, otherwise I am afraid I have just thrown away $400.00. This is really bad for them, yes it is keeping them alive, but how alive can you be, when they can’t have any activities, they can’t go anywhere, and if they do they have to be quarantined alone in their rooms for 14 days. They can’t eat together, or see anyone, but the staff can come and go all the time, this is unacceptable. I would be staying with her, but that isn’t allowed right now either, my brother has to leave her groceries in between doors and then the staff picks them up and sterilizes them, then they have to go get them and take them to their rooms. I would welcome testing if they had it, but they don’t. Both my Mom and her sister-law are slowly losing their minds, and will soon not even know their family if this doesn’t stop real soon. We can’t wait for a vaccine.

  3. Nancy says:

    Now we’ve been waiting another two weeks for a path to open up to get to our loved ones. I am totally supportive of being cautious and protect all involved to the greatest extent possible. However, forcing families to be tested before every single visit is excessive and unsustainable. Not even the workers that care for my 90 year old Mom have to do this. My Mom had a nightmare last night that she couldn’t find me. She woke up in a panic. We just can’t keep our loved ones locked away from us any longer. They are declining from lack of ability to be around the people they love, and we’re stressed and anxious watching them decline! We’re ALL desperate at this point. PLEASE, trust us to be as caring of these “neighbors” as you want to trust the “public” to be considerate of their neighbors as they start visiting bars, restraurants, and stores. We MUST get to our loved ones before it is too late for them!

  4. Pam says:

    Please push forward on these guidelines! My mom is in a senior community, in her own apartment. She is 92, and in excellent health, physically and mentally. But…the isolation and lack of contact with her family and friends is taking a toll on her. I agree with Karl. We need to allow these people to be with their family, in a safe manner. My mom would love to come sit on my patio with my husband and I and have dinner. Right now, I can visit with her across an open door, she is inside and I sit outside. I hope I am not sitting like this to see when it is snowing! And…they want to put Plexiglas up between us – I fear this will be the breaking point for my mom. We all need hugs and physical contact, and we are depriving our precious seniors of this!

  5. MARILYN WEBER says:

    Not a practical solution, If staff are only tested once a week why would testing for families be valid for 48 hrs? Believe me facilities are not testing staff weekly & the mandate for testing & masks was too late in the outbreak! The state has failed seniors! We just lost our mother not of covid but because of covid heartbreaking isolation & no family. Her last words : they took all the days I had left

  6. Elise says:

    And where do we get testing? When testing seems to be limited still to those with symptoms or those who have had contact with someone who has tested positive.

  7. Karl says:

    My 98 year old mother has been isolated for a couple of months now. She is even forced to have meals alone in her room with very little human contact. It is not good for her mental health. Yes she is physically alive, but she has no quality of life. Governor Polis needs to relax these quarantines before they kill the people they are supposed to protect.

    1. Dennis Cullington says:

      I am a resident in a nursing home. We need to get out of solidarity conflinement. Now I know what jail is like.

  8. Dennis Cullington says:

    Not good enough, to many questions.

  9. Sharon says:

    Are family members responsible for paying for this test themselves? Do they need to get tested every time they want to visit? This could become very costly for families who are trying to help their elderly parents, etc. feel more comfortable during this difficult time. We are grateful for the precautions being taken, but still have some concerns about the mental health of our mother who we haven’t seen since the beginning of March. If we have to go through testing every time we want to visit then our visits will still be limited.

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