Assisting living, nursing homes soon to allow visitors again

By Bruce Hope bruce@opcfla.com
Posted 9/23/20

ORANGE PARK – Residents of Signature HealthCARE in Orange Park may soon be able to rejoice in once again having family members and visitors to the assisted living facility.

The lockdowns caused …

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Assisting living, nursing homes soon to allow visitors again

Posted

ORANGE PARK – Residents of Signature HealthCARE in Orange Park may soon be able to rejoice in once again having family members and visitors to the assisted living facility.

The lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the fact seniors are often more susceptible to the virus led to strict regulations that kept residents from having visitors inside the building. Those who chose to visit had to use other methods such as virtual visits (Skype, Facetime, Zoom, etc.), or window visits. Things may soon be changing, with the lifting of certain regulations.

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the change at the beginning of September. Signature HealthCARE has been working towards making these changes with the specific aims of recreating opportunities for patients to be physically reunited with their loved ones.

According to the Florida Division of Emergency Management, the order to lift visitation restrictions in nursing homes assisted living, and other long-term care facilities were issued by DeSantis on Sept. 2. Visitors to any of the designated locations are required to wear personal protective equipment as part of the most recent guidelines from the Center for Disease Control.

“Signature Healthcare has been working diligently, with a sense of great urgency and excitement every day, on plans and protocols that will permit us to reopen our healthcare facilities for limited outdoor visitation, and in certain circumstances even indoor visitation, as soon as possible,” Signature said.

Reopening is not, however, a matter of the order being lifted and doors swinging wide. According to the order, certain conditions must be met in order for any facility to resume visitation of its residents, like:

• No new facility-onset of resident COVID-19 cases within 14 days other than in a dedicated wing or unit that accepts COVID-19 cases from the community

• If a staff member tests positive for COVID-19, the facility must immediately cease all indoor and outdoor visitation in the event that staff person was in the facility in the 10 days prior to the positive test

• Sufficient staff to support the management of visitors

• Adequate PPE for facility staff

• Adequate cleaning and disinfecting supplies; and

• Adequate capacity at referral hospitals for the facility.

Signature Health Care has not set a specific date for reopening of its facility to visitors. Until a date for reopening has officially been set, alternate methods of communication and visitation with residents will remain in effect.

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