Guidance for outdoor visitation at nursing homes in Colorado released

Published: Jun. 24, 2020 at 9:30 PM MDT
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The coronavirus pandemic has taken a physical and emotional toll on people around the world, especially for folks who live at residential care facilities like nursing homes.

On Wednesday, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis released new guidance that should help residents at a number of facilities battle back against loneliness. Health officials are still encouraging the public to utilize "electronic means of communication," but families are now able to visit their loved ones in person.

The guidance is for:

- Long-term care facilities

- Skilled nursing facilities

- Nursing facilities

- Assisted living facilities

-Intermediate care facilities

-Group homes

- Independent living facilities

“We know that these restrictions -- and the resulting isolation -- have been hard on the residents in these facilities,” said Randy Kuykendall, director of the Health Facilities and EMS Division at CDPHE. “But we know the restrictions, while hard, helped minimize the impact of outbreaks. Because of the success of our collaborations between state and local health departments and residential care facilities in the state, we are pleased to offer some safe ways for residents to receive visitors.”

While the outdoor visitation is allowed, the new guidance could be changed as health officials monitor the data.

Some of the most important standards include:

- The facility cannot have outdoor visitation if the facility had any recent positive cases or outbreaks and has not completed the required isolation period of 14 days. Facilities with active cases are not allowed to offer visits.

- All visits must be scheduled. Prior to the visits, facilities must provide information about COVID-19, and instructions for self-screening on the day of the visit, social distancing and mask-wearing, and details about the visit.

- The visitor must be greeted outside at a designated area by facility staff, and the staff member will perform temperature check and symptom screening in accordance with current CDC guidelines.

- All visitors must wear a face mask or cloth face covering. All staff and the resident must wear a surgical or cloth mask unless doing so would inhibit the resident’s health.

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