DeWine urges Ohio’s nursing homes to consider compassionate care visits as COVID positivity rates decrease

Ohio

CEDARVILLE, Ohio (WDTN) — Governor Mike DeWine outlined Ohio’s steps to get families back into nursing homes and long-term care facilities during Monday’s coronavirus briefing.

“Our efforts to protect Ohio’s most vulnerable population are working. Last week, long-term care facilities reported 343 new cases — this is compared to the 2,832 new cases when case numbers peaked in December. We are definitely making progress,” said DeWine.

The state’s overall positivity rates are decreasing and counties are slowly falling to acceptable levels based on CDC guidance. DeWine believes that nursing homes may be able to allow more visitations soon.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) federal authority supersedes that of the state, making the visitation requirements issued by them what Ohio nursing homes have to follow. However, DeWine and CMS both recognize the need for some families to be with loved ones in these settings and have provided some exceptions.

Below is an excerpt from an FAQ from CMS on nursing home visitations:

“For example, for a resident who was living with their family before recently being admitted to a nursing home, the change in their environment and sudden lack of family can be a traumatic experience. Allowing a visit from a family member in this situation would be consistent with the intent of the term ‘compassionate care situations.’ Similarly, allowing someone to visit a resident whose friend or family member recently passed away, would also be consistent with the intent of these situations.”

DeWine said he is sending a letter to all of Ohio’s nursing homes to remind them of two things:

  • Check county positivity rates every week to determine visitation statuses
  • Allow for compassionate care visits

As positivity rates decrease, DeWine urges families with loved ones in nursing homes to check the state’s long-term care facility visitation dashboard. Counties in the red cannot have visitations, but compassionate care visits are still a possibility. When in the yellow or green, visitations may be allowed but families should contact the facility for more information.

To check Ohio’s long-term care facility visitation dashboard, click here.

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