SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Many nursing facilities are currently evaluating whether they will revisit policies for non-visitor visitation with the new CDC guidelines released on Tuesday. State officials resumed allowing visitors last month, but many family members fear the situation could come to a complete standstill.
âIt was very stressful because usually you know you can go see them. So you know how they’re actually doing and not just a nurse on the phone, âsaid Denise Bilderback, South Bend resident.
The pandemic forced many families to stay away for months, but for Bilderback it was especially difficult as she couldn’t see or speak to her stepfather even after he suffered multiple strokes. ‘last year. .
âWe never want to go back to where we were and exclude people from the facilities. I do not see that this can be a problem. There may be some tweaking, but I don’t think there will be a full lockdown again, âsaid Brian Lee, executive director of Families for Better Care.
Experts say the closure created many psychological problems for residents, including feelings of abandonment.
While there are obvious concerns about COVID, he says many facilities are learning from the previous shutdown on how they can better serve their residents without cutting visits entirely.
âMaybe we could move away from inside visitation to some extent. Maybe more outdoor tours. Testing could be stepped up at the facilities. These are possibilities, âLee said.
With no official state requirements at the moment, there are no immediate changes to visitation policies, but it is something many say must remain to ensure a healthy state of mind for the residents.
âI think those who are feeling a lot better now that they might have visits. I think it’s just the best medicine for everything, âBilderback said.
Lee says one of the most important factors will be getting all caregivers and visitors vaccinated to protect residents who may not be in good health to receive the vaccine.