As our local communities and the world continue to react and implement measures to contain the coronavirus referred to as COVID-19, you may find yourself turned away from the nursing home where your loved one resides and unable to visit them. A responsible plan to protect nursing home residents has been mandated by most state governors. Nursing home residents are most vulnerable to the symptoms associated with COVID-19. Therefore, there is solid science and logic to such a quarantine.
If you have a loved one in a nursing home, we recommend the following:
- Do not violate the restricted visitation policy. Please do not put your loved one or other residents in danger. Please do not put yourself in legal danger. Restrictions during a pandemic are taken very seriously by law enforcement. Gather as much information about how your particular facility is addressing COVID-19 and adhere to their plan. While the quarantines may seem strict, remember that they’re in place to protect your loved one first and foremost.
- Consider the “Responsible Party” (the person designated in the resident’s records as the one to call for all changes in condition) the point person for the whole family. The facility likely won’t give any information to others due to HIPAA restrictions. Having a singular point person will prevent the facility from being overloaded with calls. The point person can then send communications to the rest of the family via group text, email, or phone calls.
- The point person can request periodic updates that include condition and photos or videos of their loved one. Each facility should at this point have a plan on how they will communicate with point persons for each resident. Request, please don’t demand. Facility staff members are under significant stress right now, and are likely doing the best they can. A little kindness and appreciation will go a long way for their spirits and motivation.
- Make your best efforts to remain calm and protect yourself. Follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control. Governors and the CDC are giving daily updates and recommendations. Follow sound science and logic and hopefully the duration of these restrictions will be minimal.
- When you are eventually allowed to visit, continue to encourage visitors to do an honest assessment of their own symptoms and exposure. If there’s any chance you or any other visitor have been exposed, please wait at least 14 days, while remaining symptom free, before visiting.
We at Thomas Law Offices wish you and your loved ones good health. We are hopeful that COVID-19 will soon be contained and those affected will recover fully.