Aging Well

Aging Well

The Range of Visitation Policies in Senior Communities

Posted August 12, 2020 3:30 p.m. EDT

Not being able to freely visit loved ones in Assisted Living, Memory Care and Skilled Nursing for over four months has been excruciating for many families, and even hastened cognitive and physical decline in a number of cases.

Last month, the Centers for Disease Control released guidelines for enabling outdoor visitation with distancing and masks provided specific criteria are met, such as no ongoing outbreaks, a testing plan, clear infection prevention training and protocols in place, and other conditions.

However, even with these conditions met, many Assisted Living, Memory Care and Family Care Homes have still understandably hesitated to open their doors.

Recently, though, as the number of new COVID cases and percentage of positive tests in North Carolina have gone down and as knowledge about the disease has gone up, many communities have begun to loosen visitation restrictions.

In the Triangle, those that do allow visitation require that it be scheduled, that it be outdoors in a designated area, that family members are screened by staff, and that it be limited to one or two visitors wearing masks and with social distancing. There are a few communities who have, given the heat, designated one or two indoor visitation rooms, which you have to schedule ahead of time, where visits can take place. Decontamination then happens between visits.

Visitation to skilled nursing facilities is still restricted only to compassionate care situations.

In terms of hospitalizations, one family member is allowed to visit during visitation hours after being screened and provided they wear a mask, sanitize their hands and maintain a six foot distance.

That said, family members are not allowed to visit a patient with COVID-19 residing on the restricted COVID hall or in the ICU.

To keep up to date on the latest policies regarding visitation to congregate care settings, visit: https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/information/health-care/long-term-care-facilities

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