“How Long Before Visits Can Resume In Nursing Homes?”
Is the Million Dollar Question With No Answer Right Now!
Residents, staff and families at Park Manor and elsewhere want to know, “When can we come to visit again?” Anything resembling traditional visitation remains a long way off. Several states have authorized nursing homes to allow outdoor visits, under strict rules for distancing, monitoring and hygiene and generally in accordance with the CMS guidelines. The state of Wisconsin has been working on guidance to begin the reopening process in Wisconsin for almost a month, but has not published that guidance as of the end of June.
CMS, the federal health agency, is urging nursing homes to continue barring any visitation until they have gone at least 28 days without a new COVID-19 case originating on-site (as opposed to a facility admitting a coronavirus patient from a hospital). There are several other benchmarks to meet, that include community prevalence, resident and staff testing, adequate PPE supplies and staffing levels. If these benchmarks are met, the reopening process may begin.
For Park Manor, the state of Wisconsin rules will dictate our reopening process. We anticipate most of the federal recommendations for reopening will be included in the state rules. While our region has been very lucky to have a very low incidence of COVID-19, the rising death toll across the country and resurgence of COVID in numerous states is an indicator that nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and the public as a whole, are still at considerable risk as the virus is not yet under control and there is not a vaccine or medication that will help mitigate the infection.
When we do begin the reopening process, visitation will look very different than in the past. It is likely everyone entering our facility will undergo health screening including temperature and symptom check, review of potential exposure and education on COVID-19. A visitor will be required to wear a mask, PPE, and perform appropriate hand hygiene. Visiting will take place is a designated area that is not the resident’s living area and will be by appointment and for a limited time. Social distancing will also need to be maintained, with six feet between the resident and visitor.
Thank you for your patience during this challenging time. Our residents are resilient and we are doing everything we can to keep their spirits up and keep them safe! Rest assured as soon as we have guidance from the state of Wisconsin we will move ahead with the reopening of Park Manor.