Residents in long-term care facilities could again receive visits from family


Published:

Jill Blue

After months of lockdown, nursing home and other long-term care facilities will soon begin allowing family members to visit loved ones under strict conditions.

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the executive order Tuesday afternoon allowing families to visit.

The move comes as welcome news for families and has long-term care facilities preparing to allow visits on restricted basis.

Eric Hardoon, administrator and executive director at Chateau Madeleine, located off Wickham Road in Suntree, said everyone associated with the facility is welcoming the news.

“It’s very important in some way, shape or form to get those visitations back,” he said.

Two resident family members will be allowed in at a time, and groups visiting in total can be no larger than five family members, Hardoon said.

“We’re doing an hour block,” he said of the visitations, which must be scheduled.

Hardoon notes that Chateau Madeleine is being extra cautious with visitors and going beyond the safety requirements set forth in the executive order.

All visitors will have to get a downloadable form from Chateau Madeleine signed by a medical professional and then visit within a four-hour period where they’ll have to pass a 15-minute rapid COVID-19 test before being able to visit a resident at their facility.

Hardoon noted that “we were kind of caught by surprise,” by the announcement but that they’re hopeful to “get this started Tuesday of next week.”

According to the order, everyone who is going to have physical contact with a resident must wear personal protective equipment “pursuant to the most recent CDC guidelines” and that “persons without physical contact with any resident must wear a face mask.”

To accept general visitors, a long-term facility must have, aside from a dedicated wing or unit that accepts community COVID-19 cases, no new facility-onset of COVID-19 cases within the past 14 days. Additionally, the facility must have 14 consecutive days with “no new facility-onset of staff COVID-19 cases where a positive staff person was in the facility ten (10) days prior to the positive test.”

General visitors, meaning those who are not deemed as essential caregivers or compassionate caregivers, must be over the age of 18 as well.

The order also stressed the importance of the facility making sure they stick to the strict protocols.

Hardoon said his facility will carefully prepare for visitors.

“If we're real hasty here, it could mean a life, it could mean another two weeks of not visiting their loved ones,” he said.

 

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