LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - “I have 16 Garrison patients and six employees. The whole building will be tested tomorrow.”
That was the comment from a Lubbock doctor after hearing the number of positive COVID-19 tests in one of the nursing homes he oversees.
Dr. Michael McPherson is the Medical Director for both Garrison Geriatric and Education Center, Crown Point Health Suites and many other nursing homes in the area. In the same phone call, he also learned that Crown Point has two employees and at least seven residents with COVID-19 infections.
He says while nursing home residents are kind of isolated anyway for their own protection, there is something the rest of us can do to help.
He says, “Protect those workers who have to leave those homes by wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing, wash your hands. Even if you don’t go there, if you go to United or some other place and you don’t have a mask on and you could expose one of those workers that have to go to that store.”
Dr. McPherson says it is tragic that these residents are cut off from their loved ones during such a difficult time. Even beyond fear of the illness, he says many residents have developed a feeling of hopelessness.
He reminds us, “These are people who cared for us, fought for us, did amazing things. This is the greatest generation now facing this and we have to care for these folks . These are real people that are lonely, hurting and getting sick. And we have to take that seriously.”
Dr. McPherson suggests phone calls, letters, gift baskets, anything you can do to reach out to these people in nursing homes. Many feel isolated anyway and now face quarantine in their rooms if they test positive, even if they have no symptoms.