As we modify so many aspects of life amid the COVID-19 pandemic, all industries face the difficult question of “what’s next?” This question rings especially true for long-term care facilities, with the easing of visitation restrictions being a highly-discussed topic. Welcoming guests back to your facility and developing a process for outdoor family and social visits requires a carefully-crafted plan to ensure the safety of residents, staff and guests.
Several factors must be considered in planning for outdoor visits to ensure the safety of everyone involved. Below, you’ll find some essential points to consider when developing your plan. Please note, this list is not all inclusive; additional elements may be necessary for your facility.
Before resuming visitation, it is crucial to assess your facility and decide whether it can safely host visitors. When developing a plan, consider these factors:
- Be transparent and set realistic expectations while keeping residents, families and staff informed. Education should include the facility’s infection prevention measures, compliance with best practices and local, state and federal guidelines and mandates.
- Facility Readiness
- Plan the location and ensure adequate staffing to facilitate visits.
- Assess the need for a written acknowledgment form or waiver based on jurisdictional requirements and seek guidance from legal counsel as needed.
During visits, it is imperative to ensure that all are adhering to protocols and that the setting supports a safe process.
- Visitors should check-in at a designated location and be screened for symptoms (if not done in advance). Confirm hand hygiene and the use of adequate face coverings. Maintain a visitor log containing vital information.
- Post signage at the check-in and visitation areas outlining essential points of the policy, as well as requirements for face covering, respiratory etiquette, hand hygiene and physical distancing. Consider signage for non-English speaking visitors.
- Monitor the visitation setting for the use of face coverings, hand hygiene and maintaining physical distance. Respectfully address any lack of compliance.
How Did It Go?
The process doesn’t end after visits are completed. Monitoring your program for successes and modifications must be ongoing.
- Solicit feedback from residents, families and staff to help improve the process. Monitor the overall success of the program as well as changes in federal, state and local regulations. Adjust your processes as needed.
We Can Help
RCM&D’s Risk Consulting team can help your facility create a comprehensive plan to safely welcome visitors. Our informational guide, Welcome Back: A Visitation Guide for Aging Services, is available here. Talk to your trusted advisor today.