This year has been a challenging one for older Iowans living in nursing homes and their families who have had to limit visits with their loved ones because of Covid 19. However, with cases across the country dropping, many states including Iowa have recently issued new guidelines which will bring families together.
Per Iowa health officials, nursing home visitation options have been expanded effective immediately and facilities now have the greenlight to allow indoor visitation at all times for all residents. To ensure the continued safety of nursing home residents, staff and families the guideline include a few scenarios where visitation may be limited temporarily to include:
- If a nursing home resident is unvaccinated, visitation should only be limited if the county wide positivity rate is greater than 10% and less than 70% of residents are fully vaccinated.
- If a resident tests positive for Covid 19, visits should be limited until they have met the criteria to discontinue precautions, typically a short period of quarantine
- Even during periods of quarantine, vaccinated and unvaccinated residents should have limited visitation until released
- Compassionate care visits, such as when a resident’s health has sharply declined or is experiencing a significant change in circumstances, are to be allowed at all times regardless of their Covid 19 or vaccination status.
Of course, nursing facilities are encouraged to continue to adhere to core principles of infection control by providing outdoor space for visits as available or when weather permits, having family groups practice physical distancing from other groups where possible, and observe hygiene practices of handwashing and perform regular clearing of the facilities.
Everyone agrees that spending time with loved ones is important and critical to the wellbeing of older persons in nursing home facilities. The new guidelines are no doubt a welcome change to families across the state and the rest of the country who cannot wait to see, embrace, and spend time with their loved ones.
Many elderly nursing home residents and their family members can look forward to a return to relative normalcy, an opportunity to spend more time together in the coming months and years.
Nursing home facilities must continue to provide high standards of care, cleanliness, and safety for residents. When a nursing home fails to provide proper care and health safety, injuries or death can occur. Contact Humphrey Law Firm as soon as possible if you suspect improper health safety or absent care, unsanitary conditions, or poorly maintained facilities at 515-331-3510.