PARK RIDGE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — When the pandemic hit nursing homes, facilities were forced to shorten visits to keep patients safe, but now families are fighting to spend more time with their loved ones.

“They only allow 15-minute visits once a week,” Erica Haber said.

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During uncertain and unpredictable times, 15 minutes is too short for Haber.

Erica Haber and her mother (Credit: Erica Haber)

“I just want to see my mom,” she told CBS2’s Cory James.

She is fighting to spend more time with her 87-year-old mother, who lives at Atrium Senior Living in Park Ridge.

Back in June, the facility, like many others in the Garden State, began scheduling outdoor visits for its residents.

Haber says she would sometimes have to split visits with her brother.

“He’d have seven minutes, and I’d have seven minutes. I mean, it was ridiculous,” she said.

Steve Gonzales says the tough time constraints on visitations is one reason he pulled his wife, Judith Schlanger, out of the facility nearly four months ago.

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“Fifteen minutes is not a long time to spend with your family member,” Gonzales said.

CBS2 called several nursing homes in New Jersey and found out visitation appointments ranged from 15-30 minutes.

The department of health says, “A long-term care facility may limit the length of any visit, the days on which visits will be permitted … and the number of times during a day or week a resident may be visited.”

Some family members are hoping visitation policies will be laxed soon because they know how important it is for their loved ones, who are comforted by the time they get to spend with them.

“What is the damage, what is the issue here? Why can’t you extend it to half an hour?” Haber said.

CBS2 reached out to Spring Hills Senior Communities, but a spokesperson was unavailable for comment.


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