Visitation logs, face masks among rules for indoor nursing home visits

The family of Virginia “Ginny” Meyer, 95, was finally able to see her up closed thanks to a clear, protective box the family built to be placed outside Barrington of West Chester senior living facility Wednesday, May 13, 2020. Meyer’s children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren greeted her as she came out the door to see them up close for the first time in over two months due to the coronavirus pandemic. If they wanted to see her before they had to see her from her third floor balcony. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
The family of Virginia “Ginny” Meyer, 95, was finally able to see her up closed thanks to a clear, protective box the family built to be placed outside Barrington of West Chester senior living facility Wednesday, May 13, 2020. Meyer’s children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren greeted her as she came out the door to see them up close for the first time in over two months due to the coronavirus pandemic. If they wanted to see her before they had to see her from her third floor balcony. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Face masks, visitation logs and coronavirus screenings are all part of an amended health order allowing nursing home and assisted living centers to resume indoor visitations starting Monday.

Ohio Department of Health Interim Director Lance Himes signed off on the order Thursday, which lays out the guidelines for facilities if they decide to begin indoor visits again.

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Most of the guidelines, such as limiting visits to 30 minutes and allowing two visitors per resident per visit, were previously shared last month when the state first made the announcement.

Facilities should consider staffing levels, the number of coronavirus cases within the facility and access to testing and personal protective equipment when considering allow indoor visits.

Under the health order, facilities are required to screen all personnel and individuals for coronavirus each time they enter the facility. If possible, homes are encouraged to test visitors. Staff will escort visitors to a designated visitation area, which is will cleaned and disinfected between visits.

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Visits will be scheduled ahead of time and limited to two visitors per resident for 30 minutes. Visits will begin once the guest is reunited with the resident. There is no age restrictions on visitors, but they should be able to social distance and wear a face covering.

Facilities should encourage contact-less visits. If physical contact takes place, residents should thoroughly wash their hands and possibly change clothes afterward.

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The health order also requires facilities to keep a log of visitor information, which will be reported to the state on a regular basis. The log should include the facility’s visitation status and hours, total number of indoor and outdoor visits, total visitors and total visitation hour. All visitors must provide a form of ID and give the facility their name, phone number and address.

Compassionate care visits should take place in coronavirus-free areas of the facility. The visits should take a “person-centered approach” and the facilities should work with residents, families and caregivers to determine the need, length and frequency for visits, according to the order. Compassionate care visits should not be used to substitute regular and routine visits.

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