My mom is a resident in a Louisville nursing home. I just got a call from the administrator, who told me that the facility is not allowing visitors for a few days because of the flu “epidemic.” Can they do this?

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Absolutely! It’s for the good of the residents, who are really vulnerable and can wind up with not only the flu but other, more serious complications, such as pneumonia. Be glad the nursing home cares enough about its patients to impose such restrictions.

ABC News reported that as of the end of January, flu numbers passed the 7.2 percent of deaths that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention deem an epidemic to hit 9.8 percent. Nursing homes throughout the country are, thankfully, taking this flu outbreak seriously.

Just because you can’t visit, though, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep in contact. If your mother is able to talk on the phone, call her frequently. Call the nursing staff, too, and find out how your mother is doing, if she’s eating enough, and any other issues about which you are concerned. Keep in mind, though, that the families of other residents are probably concerned and are calling, too. Ask your mother’s caregiver if she has time to talk, and if not, ask her to call you when she has a moment. After all, you don’t want the staff neglecting the residents to talk on the phone.

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