The Alice Center’s Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) will begin hosting limited indoor visitation for residents on Monday, Sept. 28, after the New York State Department of Health announced updated guidelines for nursing home visitation last week.
Starting Monday, the SNF will host pre-scheduled visitation from 9 to 11 a.m. five days per week (Monday – Friday).
In accordance with state Department of Health regulations, starting Thursday, Sept. 24, all visitors must provide a verified negative COVID-19 test within the past seven days prior to their visit. The facility will allow a maximum of six visitors at a time; residents will be allowed two visitors per session. All visits will be held in the corridor that connects the SNF and The Alice Center’s Assisted Living Program, and will be supervised by an SNF employee. No window visits will be allowed during in-person visitation hours.
SNF administrators began last week reaching out to residents and their points of contact to inform them of updated guidelines and restrictions issued by the state Department of Health on Sept. 15. Susan Biondolillo, associate vice president of long term care, said the department’s testing requirement could represent a serious challenge for many individuals seeking to visit loved ones in long-term care facilities across the state.
“This is going to be a challenge for many families,” said Biondolillo. “Our focus has always been keeping people safe and doing whatever it takes to ensure our residents are protected during this public health emergency. “At the same time, the Department of Health’s requirement that all visitors be tested for COVID-19 and have a verified negative result within seven days prior to their visit presents real logistical challenges for our visitors.”
Nursing home visitation resumed last month under strict guidelines issued by the state Department of Health. Those guidelines, which include masking, social distancing, supervision and other criteria facilities must meet before they can offer limited visitation programs, remains in effect. In mid-March, state officials suspended all visitation at the facilities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The updated guidelines issued last week also reduce the waiting period for facilities with a positive COVID-19 test result from 28 days to 14 days. State officials, in the updated guidelines, also initially barred visitors under the age of 18 from entering long-term care facilities, but ultimately rolled back that restriction. Visitors under the age of 18 are allowed and must be accompanied by an adult.
Additionally, the COVID-19 testing requirement does not apply for residents who are receiving visitation during end-of-life care.