Nursing home residents forced to spend Thanksgiving apart from family due to COVID restrictions | KOB 4

Nursing home residents forced to spend Thanksgiving apart from family due to COVID restrictions

Megan Abundis
Updated: November 27, 2020 04:17 PM
Created: November 26, 2020 10:20 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Most skilled nursing facilities haven’t been able to accept visitors since March due to the pandemic. That means for some people, like Eddie DeHart, they’ve had to go nine months without holding their loved ones. 

“Being an older bother that's taking care of him, you want to reach out and just do something and when you can't, it's a raw, raw feeling,” DeHart said. 

The pandemic has changed the way people celebrate holidays like Thanksgiving, which is usually a high point for people receiving care inside nursing facilities.

DeHart’s brother Robby, who is five years younger than him, resides at The Suites Rio Vista Nursing Facility. 

“About five years ago he had a massive stroke,” DeHart said. “Since then he's been paralyzed on one side, and I've been doing all I can being the only family he has left to take care of him, come see him, give him comfort."

DeHart said it’s been more difficult  to do that because of the nursing home’s restrictions. Robby is also battling COVID. 

"It’s pretty rough,” he said. “II spoke with him yesterday, and he could barely speak."

Normally, DeHart would visit his brother once a week.

"No way to get in with him, visit him—real hard. I feel for all the families with loved ones,” he said.

On Thanksgiving, DeHart would always bring in tamales and homemade bread, so he could share a meal with his brother. 

"There's nothing you can do—at all. You're outside, your hands are tied, so you rely on the staff here to take care of him, comfort him, and it's been helpful. They'll put the phone up to his ear on speaker phone,” he said. 

DeHart said the staff has done an amazing job taking care of Robby. He also said he’s been relying on things like his faith to help him through this tough time. 

He said he’s looking forward to the day he can laugh and share a tamale with his brother again. 

"God gave us plenty of days we can celebrate,” he said. 


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