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Family says Pueblo nursing home won't let them see their loved one

The nursing home did not get back to News5
Genesis Pueblo Center Ruby Gonzales.bmp
Posted at 10:00 PM, Aug 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-27 09:25:45-04

PUEBLO — COVID-19 has stopped us from being able to do a lot of things we used to. But in some cases, those things were important to some people’s health and sanity.

Families with loved ones in nursing homes have had to find ways to adapt to keep in touch. But one Pueblo family told News5 a nursing home isn’t even letting them, or other families, do that.

Celestina Lynch loves her grandma, 75-year old Ruby Gonzales.

“Me and my grandma are actually really close,” Lynch said. “Like partners in crime close.”

Five years ago, Ruby’s life changed.

“She was in a car accident,” Ruby’s daughter Katherine Gonzales said. “And she needed assisting with her back and physical therapy and all that.”

Since then, she’s been living at the Genesis Pueblo Center nursing home on Jones Avenue.

Celestina and Katherine have always been there for Ruby.

“We go visit my Grandma every single day,” Lynch said.

“Every single day,” Gonzales said.

When COVID-19 hit, they had to get creative.

“At the entrance, they would bring my mom to the front window,” Gonzales said.

They made do with the window visits until they couldn’t.

“That stopped last week,” Gonzales said. “They told us, because of the governor, that we weren’t allowed to see my mom because it was a state law.”

But that’s not what the state order says. The order says that “individuals necessary for the physical and/or mental well-being of the resident.” People can still visit if they are properly screened first.

And for other people, facilities still have to provide forms of “alternative forms of communication” like video chats and phone calls.

“I did my research, I called the COVID hotline, I got a lot of information,” Gonzales said.

Katherine and Celestina brought their findings to Genesis.

“They can’t make up their mind,” Lynch said. “At first it’s a law that we can’t see my grandma. And then they backtrack on it and say, oh it’s our policy.”

News5 reached out to Genesis but did not hear back, which Gonzales says isn’t surprising.

“Us as family members need to know what’s happening with our loved ones,” she said. “We can call the facility, and there’s no answer.”

They just want to see Ruby.

“It’s not fair. It’s not fair for our families, It’s not fair for the family members outside who want to see their families,” Gonzales said.

And they have a message for those in charge.

“You’re not just hurting family, but you’re also hurting the patients inside that facility,” Gonzales said. “Because they want to see family members. We want to see the smiles on their faces just as much as they want to see our faces.”