Michiganders will now be able to see family members at nursing homes under strict guidelines beginning Tuesday.
Last week, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon signed an epidemic order that does allow nursing homes to allow some visitors.
“Limiting visitation has saved lives,” Gordon said in a statement. “And seeing loved ones in person is important for mental health. Allowing outdoor visits – with proper procedures such as requiring social distancing and masks – is good for residents and can keep everyone safe.”
Those visits have to come outdoors, according to the MDHHS. Before the visit, facilities must assure the area outdoors allows for six feet of separation between all people and has protection from the weather.
Facilities have to meet certain criteria, including having no new COVID-19 cases within the past 14 days.
To allow visitation, the facilities must, among other things:
- Permit visits by appointment only.
- Limit the number of visitors during each scheduled visit to two people or less.
- Exclude visitors who cannot or will not wear a face covering during the entire visit.
- Require visitors to maintain social distancing.
- Limit the number of overall visitors at the facility at any given time based upon space limitations, infection control capacity and other appropriate factors to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
- Prohibit visits to residents who are in isolation or under observation for symptoms of COVID-19.
“The Michigan Long Term Care Ombudsman Program welcomes this cautious step forward to allow outdoor visits with residents of long-term care facilities,” said Salli Pung, the program ombudsman. “We also appreciate residents will now have access to medical and non-medical services that many residents have not received for nearly six months. By promoting these vital and basic visits and services, long term care facilities can better ensure and address residents' quality of life.”
The order applies to residential long-term care facilities, which include nursing homes, homes for the aged, adult foster care facilities, hospice facilities, substance abuse disorder residential facilities, independent living facilities and assisted living facilities.