New senior living visitation guidelines announced by Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services

New senior living visitation guidelines announced by Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services

OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (WLOX) - Visiting family means the most to some people, and the pandemic hasn’t allowed the ideal visitation for residents in nursing facilities.

With COVID-19 numbers decreasing, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has announced some news that many have been waiting on the edge of their seats to hear.

“We’re now ready to start lightening up some on our visitation. But now we’re progressing to outdoor visitation, our courtyard, our porches, our patios.” said Lighthouse Executive Director Beth Joachim.

CMS provided recommendations on ways nursing homes can safely host visitation closer to the visitations before COVID-19.

The Lighthouse Assisted Living & Memory Care senior living facility has been planning for months to welcome families back to visit residents.

“We followed the guidelines from the Mississippi Department of Health, CMS, and WHO (World Health Organization). Following their guidelines we have really kept to our precautions,” said Joachim. “Doing that we have not have not had any cases of COVID.”

Within the next week, Joachim said residents will be able to welcome visitors in their private room. According to CMS, the indoor and outdoor visitation is allowed only if there has been no new onset of COVID-19 cases in the past 14 days and the facility is not conducting outbreak testing .

Joachim reiterated safety is still a priority, so visitors will be screened upon arrival for visitation.

“We’ll still be keeping with the checks at the door for temperature monitoring," said Joachim. "Also have them wash their hands and use the hand gel before coming in.”

Joachim added that children under the age of 18 can only visit residents from the visitation room at the Lighthouse until further notice.

The Gulf Coast Veterans Healthcare System will return to Phase 1 of their COVID-19 guidelines, which means limited face-to-face appointments, screenings at entrances, staggered appointment times, restricted visitor policy, and emphasis on virtual care.

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