On September 1st, the Governor issued the Division of Emergency Management Emergency Order No. 20-009 regarding visitation in long term care facilities (Assisted Living and Skilled Care/Short Term Rehab). The Order was implemented upon his signature, but the state has stated they would give AL and Skilled facilities time to put protocols and policies in place.
Each AL and Skilled Care resident or his or her legal representative may designate up to two “Essential Caregivers” (Those who provide assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, dressing, eating, and/or emotional support; two “Compassionate Care” visitors providing emotional support to help a resident deal with difficult transition or loss, an upsetting event, or end-of-life (more episodic occurrences); and up to five “General” visitors. In all cases, no more than two visitors at a time are allowed for a resident unless at imminent end-of-life. General Visitors are prohibited until a facility has 14 concurrent days with no new facility onset of staff or residents COVID-19 cases. For a positive staff member, it is 14 days from when a positive staff member was in the facility ten days prior to the positive test.
We are presently developing policies and protocols as the state required so it will be a few days before we have these policies and protocols in place and can then safely support visitation. We are allowed per the Order to:
- set a limit on the total number of visitors allowed at any given point on campus based on staffing ability to screen and monitor visitations;
- develop an agreeable schedule for visitation;
- provide and require infection prevention and control training including proper use of PPE, hand hygiene, and social distancing;
- require appropriate PPE to be worn while on campus;
- limit the visitors’ access to the defined visitation area and require the visitor to wear their PPE and maintain safe distancing from all other residents and staff going to and from the designated visitation area;
- maintain a visitor screening process and visitor log;
- prohibit visits, except for compassionate care visits, if the resident is quarantined or if the resident is positive for or shows symptoms. General visitors would be prohibited;
- after attempts to mitigate concerns, restrict, or revoke visitation if the essential caregiver or compassionate care visitor fails to follow prevention and control requirements or other COVID related rules.
The Order also states that we have to have sufficient staff to support visitations; adequate PPE for staff, adequate cleaning, and disinfectant supplies; and our referral hospitals must have adequate capacity. We need to provide outdoor visitation spaces (which we have in place) and are developing safe indoor visitation spaces. The Order notes that general visitation must be scheduled, and we limit the length of visits, days of visits, hours for visitation, and the number of visits per week based on the ability of staff to screen and monitor scheduled visits.
No doubt this Emergency Order will be well received by both family and residents who have not been in the same room with their loved ones since the Governor’s Executive Order back in March. We recognize the Executive Order was put in place to best minimize the risk of COVID-19 to the most vulnerable population. Now, with this Emergency Order, we need to all work together to assure that it is rolled out in a safe and organized manner for the wellbeing of all. If you would like to read the Order it can be found at https://www.flgov.com/covid-19/ Once we have our: form for AL and PMG residents to list their Essential Caregivers, Compassionate Care Visitors, and General Visitors and a Visitation Consent Form for each visitor to complete and sign acknowledging they have completed training provided and they understand, accept and agree to adhere to the terms identified in the documentation provided; and all policies and protocols defined as stated in Emergency Order, we will assist AL and Skilled resident with completing their form and notifying their selected Essential, Compassionate, and General visitors they have been selected. Then we will provide those selected with Visitation Forms and our Protocols and Policies including how to go about scheduling visits. We need to stress that no one can show up unscheduled on campus and expect to see their loved one under this Emergency Order. We need to follow the requirements and guidelines identified in the Order.
We continue to ask every RL and IL resident to wear a mask when out of his/her home where social distancing could be difficult. Masks are required in all FPH buildings. For those out walking their dogs, running, walking, bicycling, have a mask with you, and should you approach someone, please wear your mask on until you are safely clear from the person.
Please reach out to a member of our team with any questions or concerns.
Stay safe and many blessings,
Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director