Those staying at nursing homes in Iowa and most other parts of the country have been isolated from their families, with very limited social interaction due to the coronavirus pandemic. As of late July of 2020, facilities in Iowa were just beginning to allow in person visits again after over four months of isolation.

Nursing home residents finally get to meet their families again

One couple who was interviewed from a home in Marion was able to meet their daughter in person after months of only seeing her through glass. The couple said that they hope to leave the facility and return home with their family in the near future. 

This is all possible because the Iowa Department of Public Health started to make changes the prior month which included relaxing restrictions against visitors. Most facilities within the state will start hosting families and allow them to have physical contact with their relatives, rather than only permitting phone calls. 

The chief of the Iowa Healthcare Association said that they have found a balance between public health priorities and families who have waited months to be reunited. His organization decided that it would be best to support measures which allow for some kind of return to normalcy. The state’s department of health revised their lengthy, 26 page document related to coronavirus mitigation strategies at the end of June. Many of these revisions included changing restrictive measures that were put in place to protect the elderly in nursing homes due to their vulnerability. Most nursing homes will begin by allowing families to meet together outdoors or through open windows that allow for physical contact. Directors at many facilities immediately went to work on making arrangements to allow for these kinds of accommodations, with updated safety guidelines in place.

Visitors would still need to be screened for fevers and other symptoms of the virus. Appointments have to be made in advance, and records are kept regarding everyone who enters the facility or schedules a visit for contact tracing. 

Elderly residents of homes have several different issues to worry about

Despite the concerns regarding infections from the coronavirus in facilities, there is now a growing consensus among health professionals that prolonged periods of social isolation may be just as serious for the elderly, resulting in dementia, increased risk of heart disease, and other health problems. When considering the added problems of neglect and poor sanitation that are common in nursing homes around the country, it seems that individuals staying in these facilities are now experiencing a perfect storm of problems all at once. 

Learn more about nursing home abuse and illnesses

To speak with an attorney after a family member contracted an illness or died inside of a facility, contact:

Eells and Tronvold Law Offices

1921 51st Street NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402-2400 


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