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'It is miserable' | New Orleans nursing home residents want family visits

Poydras Home CEO Erin Kolb said she believes keeping family away may be doing more harm than good. She said residents have come to a “tipping point.”

NEW ORLEANS — Entering their fifth month of quarantine, residents in nursing homes across New Orleans are struggling with separation from family.

Poydras Home is calling out to the Health Department to allow some type of visitation as morale declines among residents.

“Well, it is miserable. You know, I can’t even see the other people in the building,” said 87-year-old Edith Mossy during a FaceTime interview.

Mossy moved into Poydras Home on Magazine Street in early February. Her daughter, Carla Adams, tells Eyewitness News she’s had a great experience and loves living there.

But when visitation became off-limits in mid-March, FaceTime and phone calls became the only ways to stay in touch. 

“You know, I talk to her every day. And every day, she says, I just wish I could see you and hug you and touch you. It’s hard to hear,” said Adams.

Across the country, seniors separated from family have been struggling with confusion, depression, loneliness, anxiety, and even weight loss.

Poydras Home CEO Erin Kolb said she believes keeping family away may be doing more harm than good. She said residents have come to a “tipping point.”

“The residents of our community have been very patient. And our staff has been absolutely amazing in keeping our residents engaged and active during this time,” said Kolb. “But they want to see their loved ones. They want to see their children. They want to see their grandchildren.”

She said she’d like to see some way to reconnect families. Poydras Home even built a 6-foot plexiglass partition for outdoor visits. The rules included mask-wearing, temperature checks, no children, no more than two family members, and sitting more than six feet apart.

But just a few days into their 15-minute visitation sessions, the Louisiana Department of Health issued an opinion against all visitation at nursing homes.

Although the opinion was not a mandate, Poydras Home stopped its visitation.

“The safety and health of our residents, we know that’s the top priority, and we only want to do something if we can do it safely,” said Kolb.

For many families, the hardest part is not knowing how long they’ll be apart.

“I think she’s [Mossy] holding out hope that it’s gonna be soon. You know, I know this is gonna be soon. It’s gonna be soon. And I can’t give her an answer when it’s gonna be. Nobody can,” said Adams.

Through FaceTime, Mossy said she looks forward to hugging her family soon.

“ I hope so. I’m scared to death I’m going to die before I get to do it,” she said. “Talking to God about that. Don’t take me yet.”

The months of quality time dwindling for some residents, many people are desperate to find a way to keep their distance but see each other in-person.

“Our position is let’s start talking about it, so we can come up with a solution to carry this out when it’s safe for our residents,” said Kolb.

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