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Can I visit my mom and dad now? What does the new public health order in Michigan allowing visitors at long term care facilities mean to you here in Grand Rapids!

Did you see the encouraging news yesterday? If you have a parent at a long-term care facility (meaning a nursing home, assisted living or adult foster care home), or are thinking of having to move your loved one soon, you probably felt joy and relief over the new public health order. No doubt, things are moving in the right direction, but visitation policies are far from back to normal. To avoid feeling frustrated and upset when trying to visit your loved one, consider the protocols that still need to be followed, and possibly lower your expectations a bit as to how easy the new order will make a visit to mom and dad. 

What’s changed? 

As our positive cases of Covid-19 in Michigan are plateauing, and 80% of residents at long term care facilities have been vaccinated, visitation policies are easing up…a bit. 

In the past, visitation policies were based on the number of positive cases in the county the facility is in. Now, even if the county is seeing an uptick in cases, so long as the long-term care facility has not had a positive case in the last 14 days, visitors can be allowed. 

This order is a positive step in the right direction, but it is important to understand the level of responsibility that it puts on each facility to make it happen. They have a huge number of hoops to jump through in terms of training, testing, staffing, cleaning, supervising, scheduling, and reporting to make sure they can accept visitors in a safe way and as directed by the health order. At Crossroads Eldercare Options, we are encouraging people to be patient with the facility their loved ones are in. Believe us! There is nothing they want more than to have their beloved residents see their family members again. It has been heartbreaking for the staff at our senior care facilities to watch the emotional toil the pandemic, and specifically the lack of time with family, has taken. They are doing everything they can to abide by the order and put in place a safe process to begin to allow visitors. Many facilities are saying it may take a week or so to be ready to have visitors, so before you go knocking on the door of your loved one’s senior care home, keep in mind what they need to do to make it happen. 

Read below for specific protocols that still need to be followed by the long-term care facilities: 

  •  A long-term care facility may not allow visitors if it has had a positive case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days. 
  •  Either a rapid COVID-19 test must be given upon arrival at the facility, or a visitor must provide a negative COVID-19 test that was taken within 72 hours of the visit. 
  •  The facility is strongly encouraged to schedule and supervise the visit. 
  • Masks and other PPE must be used, and social distancing must be followed. So technically, no hugs yet. 
  •  The visits will be limited in time and number. Remember, there is only so much staff and it is important that all the residents are receiving care. They cannot devote too much staff to testing and visiting protocols. 
  • Facilities must ensure proper reporting of visitor test results to state/federal health officials. 

Each long-term care facility will have a process that is a bit different, at Crossroads Eldercare Options we have updated information on where they each stand. Please call us if we can help answer questions. 

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