Visit restriction protocols were implemented thanks to recommendations provided in early March by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services, and the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals. While these precautions have been necessary to protect residents and save lives, the inability to visit loved ones in-person has created enormous strain on families. With new COVID-era protocols in place in Iowa long-term care facilities, it is now appropriate to turn to the plan to allow in-person visits under certain conditions to resume.
The Iowa Department of Public Health issued new guidance to help nursing facilities navigate this complicated landscape. This guidance calls for a phased approach to allowing in-person visits. The Iowa Center for Assisted Living has provided similar guidance to Iowa’s assisted living facilities.
Based on this guidance, a facility’s reopening phase will be based on the status of COVID-19 in the surrounding community and at the facility, as well as the availability of certain resources to protect residents and staff from exposure, such as face masks, gloves and gowns. Our facility continues to work diligently to secure the resources needed, but the supply chain nationwide remains strained while demand has increased a thousand-fold for certain products.
Depending on these and other factors, a facility will be operating under one of three phases of reopening. If any of these factors change over time, a nursing facility may be required to return to a more restrictive phase.
We will notify families when we progress from one phase to the next. Generally speaking, the following types of visits are allowed per phase:
• Phase One: Compassionate care, such as end-of-life visits, window visits, virtual visits and limited outdoor visits.
• Phase Two: Adds visitation options for residents nearing end of life or experiencing significant changes in condition.
• Phase Three: Adds limited in-person visits that comply with each facility’s specific visitation policies.
When visiting, expect to follow new safety measures, such as scheduling your visit, going through health screening protocols when on site and wearing a mask when you visit.
Currently our facility is in Phase 1. With the new guidance from the Iowa Department of Public Health, we are making plans to begin outdoor visits and open window visits. Our goal is to begin these visits on 7/30/2020. These visits will be by appointment only and limited in length to allow for cleaning and social distancing.
- Scheduling a visit:
- Screening: Upon arrival, visitors will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19. Staff will check a temperature and ask a series of questions regarding symptoms. A log will be kept of visits.
- Visits: Visitation areas will be set up to allow for 6 feet of social distancing. Visitors must wear a mask for the duration of the visit. Residents will be asked to wear a mask as tolerated. Hand sanitizer must be used at the beginning and end of the visit. Visitation areas will be disinfected between visits.
We ask that you monitor for signs and symptoms of respiratory infection for at least 14 days after you visit. If symptoms occur, self-isolate at home, contact your healthcare provider, and immediately notify the facility of the date you were in the facility, the individuals you were in contact with, and the locations within the facility you visited.
We look forward to seeing you soon!