We are excited to announce, with new guidance released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which is based on the fantastic results we are seeing from the Covid19 vaccines, we are re-opening our doors to indoor visitation. This outstanding news comes on exactly the one-year anniversary since we closed our campus to visitors, and we are beyond happy and thrilled that this day has finally arrived, and our residents and their loved ones can be so much more reunited!
Millions of vaccinations have been administered to nursing home residents and staff, and these vaccines have proven to help prevent symptoms of COVID-19. It is recommended facilities, residents, and families adhere to the core principles of COVID-19 infection, including physical distancing. This continues to be the safest way to prevent the spread of the virus, especially if either party has not been fully vaccinated. However, we recognize the toll that separation and isolation have taken and that there is no substitute for physical contact, such as a hug between a resident and their loved one. Therefore, if the resident is fully vaccinated, they can choose to have close contact with their visitor while wearing a face mask and performing hand hygiene before and after.
We will be welcoming visitors for all residents (vaccinated and unvaccinated) to our campus, at all times, at our main entrance where staff is available to screen and educate guests. Visitors will be allowed regardless of the vaccination status of the visitors, but visits will be subject to a narrow set of exceptions as discussed below. This re-opening is effective immediately and is being communicated directly to our residents’ families as well.
There are limited circumstances in which we would have to continue to restrict or structure some visits, including:
- When a resident is either suspected or confirmed to have Covid19 and is in isolation precautions; this includes patients who are newly admitted from the hospital and need to be put in 14-days of isolation precautions, per current state/federal regulation.
- When a resident is symptomatic for Covid19 and is in isolation precautions until test results return
- When the facility identifies a new outbreak of Covid19, until at least one round of testing is complete and demonstrates that the outbreak is contained
- When the facility identifies a new outbreak of Covid19 and determines that it is not contained
Responsible indoor visitation includes:
- Screening of all visitors upon entrance; we must deny entrance to anyone showing or reporting any symptoms of Covid19, or anyone who has had close contact with someone positive for Covid19 during the previous 14 days. Honesty with reporting symptoms to us will be critical for our successful and safe re-opening. Visitors should report all potential symptoms to us, even if they are mild.
- Requiring well-fitting face coverings for all visitors at all times
- Maintaining physical distance between visitors and all facility staff and other residents; fully vaccinated residents may choose to have physical contact with their visitors, so long as the visitor performs hand hygiene before and after the contact
- Only 2-3 visitors per resident in their room- common areas are not an acceptable visiting area including dining rooms, activity rooms, etc.
The following guidelines outline how we will be applying this guidance to visitation within our campus and related procedures:
- Because we must screen and educate all visitors upon entrance, we prefer visitation hours to be 6:30am – 5pm Monday through Friday and 8am – 4pm on the weekends in order for staff to complete those procedures.
- If visitors are unable to come during those times, you may come afterward, but you may need to wait until someone is available to complete the procedure
- All indoor visits will take place in resident rooms/apartments. Visitors should go directly to the room/apartment of the person they are visiting, and not stop in any other area along the way. The same direct route policy applies when visitors leave the facility. We need to limit any unnecessary travel throughout our facilities by visitors at this time. Visitors who are unsure of how to get to the person’s room/apartment will be escorted there by staff, if available.
- Because we must put residents in isolation precautions anytime they exhibit any symptom of Covid19 until a test result returns negative, visitors should check with involved family members before coming here to make sure that the resident is allowed to currently have visitors. We will keep a running list at our front desks of residents who are in precautions as well, so we will reference that list with any visitors who arrive to make sure that visitation can be accommodated. If visitors arrive to see someone who is in precautions, they will have to arrange to come back at a time when the person is released from those precautions.
- Compassionate visits and end-of-life visits will continue as they are normally.
- Visitors are welcome and encouraged to use any of our hand sanitizer stations/bottles during their visit, but are also encouraged to bring their own hand sanitizer for use immediately having any physical contact with any of our residents, just in case there is not another facility bottle/station readily available.
- Outside visiting is ok while staying on the Shady Lane property. We cannot stress enough the need to continue to follow the core principles of hand washing, masking, social distancing, not visiting other residents, limit movement in the facility, and not taking residents outside that you are not here to visit. No large groups or congregating will be allowed due to limited space outdoors.
- Children who are able to comply with using well-fitting face coverings will be required to wear them at all times. We ask there be one adult present per child to ensure proper supervision and prevent any breach of distancing or masking protocol. Children will be subject to symptom screening as well, and any symptom, such as a runny nose, will result in that child being unable to visit.
- Pets are welcome to accompany visitors, so long as they are leashed/restrained and potty-trained.
- Anyone entering our facilities must notify us if they develop symptoms of Covid19 within 14 days of visiting us and our residents.
Families have been asking about taking their residents out of the facility. We strongly discourage residents from leaving the campus for anything other than essential appointments. We must continue to implement all current CDC infection control guidance and adhere to CMS regulations and guidance for testing. As vaccinations increase and COVID-19 cases decrease, we look forward to more visitation and social interaction among residents, friends, family, and loved ones. We will continue to learn and make updates to visitation over the coming months.
Please respect our screening process and visitation guidelines and please do not put our staff in an uncomfortable position by having to remind visitors of these policies. Everyone at Shady Lane and we know you yourselves, are working very hard to keep your loved one healthy. We continue to take the necessary steps to keep all our residents and our staff safe and healthy and ask for your continued support and cooperation. We understand it’s been a long road, but please wear your mask when you visit, wash your hands, and follow our visitation policies. Thank you so much!