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Indoor nursing home visits resume in Northeast Ohio

Screening of all staff and visitors upon entering the facility is required

OHIO, USA — Indoor visits are now allowed at nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Ohio.

According to Ohio Department of Aging Director Ursel McElroy, the state's new guidance includes the following:

  • Considerations regarding the coronavirus spread level in that particular community.
  • The spread level within the facility: Are there COVID-19 cases in the building?
  • Staffing levels: Does the facility have adequate staffing levels to safely facilitate the visits?
  • Does the have access to adequate access to testing for residents and staff?
  • Personal protective equipment supplies.
  • Community hospital capacity: Should the facility experience an outbreak, does the surrounding area have appropriate hospital availability?

Additionally, the following measures will be mandated for each facility welcoming visitors:

  • Must allow entry to personnel who are necessary for the operation of the facilities.
  • Screening of all staff and visitors upon entering the facility.
  • A daily log of all individuals who enter the building.
  • The visits must be scheduled in advance.
  • The visits must occur in designated visitation areas.
  • A 30-minute maximum limit on visitors.
  • Two visitors permitted per resident per visit.
  • While no age limit has been set for visitors, all must be able to wear a face covering and social distance.
  • All visitors must wear a mask.
  • Visitation will also be permitted in compassionate care situations, including on occasions where compassionate interactions are vital to the quality preservation of life. Examples include an individual who may be grieving after a loved one passed away or an individual who needs encouragement with eating or drinking.
  • Facilities must submit a written plan with these requirements so that families and residents are fully informed.

Additionally, facilities will regularly submit visitation information to the state for an online dashboard, which will be launched when indoor visitation begins.

Chief Operating Officer at Menorah Park in Beachwood, Richard Scwalberg says weather was a big concern with outdoor visits.

"In a way this is much better, the families were saying this is night and day better because it's private in some respects and they don't need to worry about the weather and the cold temperatures," he says.

Kemper House, Highland Heights Administrator Amanda Eberhart says regular connections between families and residents are important.  "All of our residents have Alzheimer's and dementia," she explains.  "We are their second family here at Kemper House but they still need their initial link to their families."