Caregiving in the Time of CoVid-19, #22: Seeing Elderly Parents Again — the Process Begins

How will assisted living communities, nursing homes, and retirement communities go about reopening while CoVid-19 is still around and infecting people?

A May 18, 2020 Washington Post, Charting a Slow Path for Reopening, describes the conditions that the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) wants assisted living communities and nursing homes to follow to reopen so families are to be able to visit their loved ones again.

The CMS recommendations are arduous and the details may indicate that, while the rest of the country is being urged to open up (and fast), care communities may take much longer. Like many initiatives proposed in Washington, the final decisions are being left up to state and local governments with no one federal plan for communities to follow. Each long term care community will need to examine the guidelines, work with state health officials, formulate a recovery/reopening plan, write it down, and share it.

The conditions include:

    • Have no new CoVid-19 cases for four weeks
    • Develop the ability to test residents and staff on a regular basis and to retest if anyone comes down with CoVid-19
    • Adopt screening protocols (written down) for evaluating all visitors, volunteers and vendors who access the campus.
    • Connect with a lab in order to have the ability to process tests quickly at a laboratory.

I know that the community where my parents live is already focusing on these guidelines, but it may take a considerable amount of time to work out all of the details. Moreover, reopening will need to be accomplished in phases, and we need to remember that we can avisit our parents once again, we too will be required to follow visitor protocols including temperature checks and testing.

And, of course, we cannot forget that the CoVid-10 infections will be all around us for the forseeable future.

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