Preventing the spread of COVID-19 has brought on new challenges of trying to see loved ones living or rehabilitating at a healthcare facility during this pandemic. Visitors are learning first-hand how businesses and healthcare facilities are managing this process.

As you know, healthcare facilities were required to discourage all visits except for extreme specific circumstances. In recent days, there have been new processes in motion to allow some visitation as long as it meets the guidelines of personal safety.

However, visitors are highly discouraged from visiting those patients who are considered high risk for severe illness from COVID-19. If the facility does allow visitors they must be using safeguards such as face masks and gloves.

Crucial personnel may be allowed into the healthcare facility once they have passed a health screen which includes having their temperature taken, completing questions specific to exposure, symptoms, or recent travel.

Alternative and creative visits have been seen all over the news. Families are learning how to visit virtually, or from an outside window, or by telephone, or with cards and letters. Internet options for face time and other social media platforms are also being used.

Educating the community on safe visit practices has been a focus for churches, businesses, and healthcare facilities. It is important to provide education on hand hygiene, proper use of wearing PPE (personal protective equipment), respiratory hygiene, and cough etiquette (covering mouth and nose).

Healthcare facilities must provide PPE for all residents, staff, and medical personnel when entering the facility. Residents that have been tested positive for COVID-19 may be moved to a section of the facility that is quarantined from others. Visitors will not be allowed on these units.

Maintaining personal safety in the community with staying six-feet away from others, wearing PPE, and restricting visits in healthcare facilities is our new reality.

While social interaction is crucial for healing and mental health, abiding by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines during this crisis will only benefit everyone in the long run.

Stay safe and stay well!