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GOOD NEWS FOR FAMILIES WITH RELATIVES IN NURSING HOMES

Federal Government States Nursing Homes Should Ease Restrictions on Indoor Visits!

Residents of Nursing Homes Soon Should Be Allowed to Hug and Hold Hands with their Visitors

Residents of nursing homes, who for far too long have been isolated from their loved ones due to fear of contracting or spreading corona virus, are finally in for some good news, according to a news release by AARP on March 11, 2021.

On Wednesday, March 10, 2021, federal officials released new recommendations to nursing homes intended to make it easier for their residents to again visit, hug and even hold hands with their loved family members after in some cases over one year of isolation.

For anyone who has had a loved one in a nursing home, hospital or other similar facility during the past year, the pain of not being able to visit, hold hands and just be there with them, especially in their time of perhaps greatest need, has been one of their most terrible times.

In fact, early on during this pandemic, one member of our own family, in trying to be sure we all took this very seriously and did our best not to contract COVID-19, including reminding us of the recommended key steps to try to stay save – wear facemasks, social distancing including avoiding groups whenever possible, and wash hands frequently with warm water and soap – reminded us frequently how awful it would be to be in the hospital, isolated and alone.

During this pandemic, countless people have become so ill they were hospitalized, too many ultimately passing away, without the comfort of their loved ones being close to them because of the highly contagious sometimes deadly virus.   Anyone in that position, either laying in bed severely ill or a loved one unable to visit and separated from a close relative, such as an elderly parent or child, at this time of perhaps greatest need, understands how truly awful this situation has been.

Now, because of mass nursing home vaccinations against this deadly virus and reduction in infections and deaths of those residents and staff in nursing homes (yes, don’t forget the valued nursing home staffs), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) stated nursing home facilities now should permit indoor visits.

Surprisingly, the announcement recommended permitting such indoor visits “regardless of vaccination status of the resident or the visitor.”

Not surprisingly, there are some reasonable exceptions to this recommendation permitting visitation even without vaccination, including not permitting visitation when the ill resident is actually under quarantine with a confirmed corona virus infection or if the resident has NOT been vaccinated and resides in a county with a high rate of COVID019 cases.

Wednesday’s announcement shows federal policy is reflecting the incredible progress made in vaccinating residents of nursing homes.  While creation of the vaccines occurred in groundbreaking record time, many thought the initial manufacture and distribution too slow.  However, recently it appears as if those problems have diminished and supply and distribution are finally improving.

Our sincere condolences go out to all those affected by COVID-19, especially to the families of those who passed and all family members who were not permitted to be with their cherished loved ones at such a terrible time.

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