The Impact of Coronavirus on Nursing Homes & Care Facilities

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The Impact of Coronavirus on Nursing Homes & Care Facilities

Coronavirus cells in an electron microscope. 3D illustration

Coronavirus (COVID-19) has officially entered the United States and is now present in all fifty states. During this stressful time, we all want to spend time with loved ones and reach out to family members and friends, especially those who are in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. Unfortunately, coronavirus is extremely contagious, and the elderly and those with compromised immune systems are most at risk. Scientists have identified the most effective way to ensure everyone’s safety, especially those who are most vulnerable: to restrict access to those in long-term care facilities, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, adult family-care homes, and adult group homes, keeping this dangerous virus away from them.

While previous Florida Right to Visitation Laws dictate the right of residents in care facilities to uncensored communication and visits from others, the growth of coronavirus in the U.S. has driven the need for isolation. On March 11, 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis directed the Florida Division of Emergency Management to issue an emergency order temporarily suspending these laws and restricting visitation to the individuals who reside in these facilities and homes. The order is an attempt to contain the coronavirus and protect our most vulnerable residents

Specifically, the emergency order allows facilities to prohibit visitation from individuals who fall under the following categories:

  • Individuals known to be infected with the COVID-19 virus
  • Anyone who is showing or exhibiting any signs or symptoms of a respiratory infection, including cough, fever, shortness of breath or sore throat
  • Anyone who has come into contact with anyone who has the virus and who has not tested negative for the it until 14 days after interaction with the person
  • Anyone who travelled internationally until 14 days after their return
  • Anyone who has been in a community with a known case for 14 days after leaving that community
  • Anyone living in a community with a known case
  • Anyone who has returned from a cruise, unless they have been quarantined for 14 days after returning

If you fall under any of these categories, you can expect that any visit to a long-term care facility will be refused.

Cancelled social events, the fear of being infected, and social distancing have resulted in a feeling of isolation for all of us. Your loved one is likely feeling the same sense of isolation, but they may not understand the suddenness of your absence. Even if you cannot see your loved one in person right now, it’s important to reach out any way you can: by phone, through the internet or video chat, or even an old-fashioned handwritten letter or card.

However, the best thing to do for yourself and your loved one is to keep calm. Stay in touch with your loved one to make sure that they know that you are thinking of them and will visit as soon as you can. While this is a scary time for everyone, you can rest easy knowing that the isolation that is causing you frustration will allow health care workers to keep your loved one safe.

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