Visitation Update | St. Ann’s Home & Wegman Care Center 2.24.2021
Dear Residents and Family Members:
The New York State Department of Health has recently published an update to the visitation regulations for Skilled Nursing Homes. These updates more closely follow the CDC and federal guidelines for visitation. Unfortunately we will not see drastic changes in our practices, as the guidance is similar to what is currently in place.
Summary of Visitation Regulations (outside of compassionate care situations):
- The nursing home must go 14 days without an “outbreak” of COVID -19. The CDC defines an “outbreak” as a single case of COVID-19 in residents or staff in the organization. This will be the biggest barrier to larger organizations like St. Ann’s Home from opening for any length of time as we have so many employees and residents. St. Ann’s Care Center may have better luck with this as it is a much smaller nursing home with fewer employees and staff.
- COVID-19 testing requirements will differ based on the community rates of COVID -19 in that particular county.
- For less than 5% positivity rate (low incidence of COVID-19)– testing is recommended. We will be providing COVID tests for visitors on Mondays and Thursdays from 10 am -2 pm at St. Ann’s Home large lobby conference room starting on Monday March 1st.
- For 5-10% positivity rate in the community – COVID 19 testing is required and a negative COVID test must be presented having occurred within 72 hours of the visit.
- For over 10% positivity rate – there should be no visiting outside compassionate care situations.
- Visitors must adhere to proper infection control policies developed by the organization.
- The number of visitors to the nursing home must not exceed twenty percent (20%) of the resident census at any time.
- Visitors MAY visit in resident’s rooms and will be required to go directly to the resident’s room without wandering about the facility
There are many more requirements which involve screening of all visitors, and proper communication of the plan for visitation and other details which are fairly consistent with current practices.
Compassionate Care Visits:
The new guidance also allows for compassionate care visits that will make visiting for some family members a possibility. We will still require visitors to test for COVID-19 prior to visiting, and as stated above are able to do these tests at St. Ann’s Community. See below:
Compassionate care visits should include:
- Newly admitted residents with difficulty adjusting to the facility environment and lack of in-person family support.
- Residents recently grieving the loss of a friend or loved one.
- Residents who previously received in-person support and/or cueing from family for eating and drinking and are now experiencing dehydration and/or weight loss.
- Residents who are exhibiting signs and symptoms of emotional distress including, but not limited to, seldom speaking or crying more frequently (when the resident had rarely cried in the past), refusing to participate in an activity or activities, staying in bed longer than usual, or exhibiting behavior considered abnormal for the individual.
- Residents who receive religious or spiritual support from clergy or another layperson.
The situations above are not intended to be an exhaustive list. Additional compassionate care situations may be considered by the facility on a resident-specific basis. Testing should be encouraged, or facilitated wherever possible.
Due to the above mentioned changes, St. Ann’s will be making the following changes starting on 2/27:
- Compassionate care visitors has been defined as those on hospice or end of life or 100 years or older. These will continue as a scheduled once a week visit for two hours, two people maximum. These visits continue to be approved by the medical and administration departments and scheduled through contacting Heather Wyffels at 697-6494 or hwyffels@MyStAnns.com. Ann’s is very concerned that we do not contribute to the spread of the virus We will be providing COVID tests for visitors on Mondays and Thursdays from 10 am -2 pm at St. Ann’s Home large lobby conference room starting on Monday March 1st. Visitors can take advantage of this testing or may use a community resource to be tested on a weekly basis. A negative test conducted in the last 7 days will be required to gain access to visitation at St. Ann’s Community.
- We will be re-evaluating our compassionate care practices. If you feel your loved one now qualifies for compassionate care visits based on the definitions above, please call your social worker so that we might be able to evaluate your situation. We will do our best to review all requests in a timely manner and get back to you as quickly as possible.
- If Monroe County stays below 5% COVID positivity rates, and we reach 14 days without a positive case in residents or staff we will allow scheduled visits to occur in residents rooms. We do still encourage all visitors to test weekly for COVID however, we will no longer require a negative COVID test for visitation to occur.
We have many questions about the regulation including the possibility of outdoor visiting that we are evaluating once the weather is a bit more cooperative that we will share with you as soon as we have clear direction. Thank you for your continued support and patience as we work through these minor changes and continue to advocate for positive change in visitation moving forward.
Susan Murty, Vice President and Administrator