CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A nursing home in Harrisburg found a unique way to let family members come see loved ones Thursday.
Nursing homes across the country have been subject to strict visitor restrictions because of the coronavirus pandemic.
PruittHealth Town Center in Harrisburg hosted a drive-through visitation parade for families on Thursday. Staff members blocked off sections of the center’s parking lot and wheeled residents out to the perimeter of the lot. Visitors lined up in their vehicles to wait for the parade to begin.
WBTV spoke to a few different loved ones who came to visit their family members Thursday. The visitors said it has been difficult to go an extended period of time without seeing their family members who are living in the center.
“That’s probably one of the hardest things of this whole ordeal for me is not being able to see my mom,” said visitor Steve Langley.
Linda Richards, the administrator at PruittHealth Town Center, explained why the facility started offering the drive-through visitation.
“We tried to come up with something that would allow the families to physically see their faces since they were not able to visit,” said Richards.
As the parade began, cars would slowly drive through the parking lot as family members waived to the residents. Some visitors had decorated their cars and others held signs with friendly messages.
With Mother’s Day just days away, PruittHealth Town Center deemed the event the ‘Honor Your Mother Parade’. While mothers were celebrated, all residents of the facility were welcome to attend the parade.
“It means a lot to me. I’m a daddy’s girl. I’m usually down here to see him about every other,” said visitor Amy Shoe.
Shoe said she wanted to be a part of the parade so she could visit her father at the center.
The event gave loved ones a chance to not only see their family members at the facility, but also speak to them and take some pictures too.
“(It was) very emotional, very emotional. Again, it was good to see them,” said Wanda Solomon, a visitor who came to the parade to see her mother.
Visitor Steve Langley brought a bubble machine to the parade so he could blow bubbles for all of the residents during the parade. The bubbles elicited claps and cheers.
“Bubbles turn everybody into like they’re five years old again,” said Langley. “It instantly takes you back to that point in your childhood where you were having fun so it’s great for those folks to have a little bit of joy even if it’s just brief.”
Although the parade moved slowly, each family only got a few minutes to stop and chat with the residents they came to see. Even if the meetings were brief, family members said they were very appreciated.
“Just to get to see them is worth anything and everything,” said visitor Kim Haigler.