LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Memory care centers rely on health and hospice workers to come into their facilities to treat residents, but some Nevada care centers aren’t allowing those nurses access to do their job.
"We believe in seeing the patient frequently," said Peggy Anger. As a hospice nurse, Anger said she likes to see her patients at least twice a week. "Just for familiarity ... We make sure that they’re comfortable in every way."
Avenir Memory Care is one of the residential facilities where she treats patients with Alzheimer's, dementia or any kind of cognitive impairment. Her patients there still see her twice a week but that’s not the case at all residential facilities.
"Some of them have said, 'you know, we don’t want you to come in, maybe once every 14 days, medicare guidelines.' But we at Harmony say we need to be able to address the patients issues," said Anger.
So does The Bureau of Health Care Quality and Compliance. In a bulletin sent to all Nevada residential facilities it said the bureau has received a number of complaints of facilities denying nurses access to their patients.
"While we appreciate your desire to protect your residents, as well as the staff who are providing vital services for them, it is imperative that home health personnel be granted access so they may follow the physician orders to ensure the residents' continued well-being," the bulletin said.
It's happening on the healthcare side too.
"We had an instance where a home health company didn’t want to come in here because they didn’t have the proper PPE equipment," said Director of Marketing Rudy Rubalcaba.
If the nurses don’t go to the residents, it means the residents have to leave a familiar environment and go to a doctors office For people battling Alzheimer's and dementia, that's not an easy task.
"The last thing we want them to do is be sitting in a waiting room for two or three hours because it can build up the anxiety," said Rubalcaba.
It also takes away caregivers from the facility and increases their chances of Covid-19 exposure.
Everyone who walks into Avenir Memory Care gets their temperature taken and must wash and sanitize their hands.
"If they have to run back out to their car for supplies we’re going to do the same process over again," said Rubalcaba.
Right now families can only talk to their loved ones through Skype, all visits are on hold.
Anger said it's why her visits are even more crucial.
"They feel comforted because they can’t come and sometimes they’ve even peaked in a window to see their loved one and then a loved one is kind of confused. So we’re kind of like the eyes and ears to share with the family....It’s kind of in us to step up," said Anger.