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Nursing Homes: Visitor Guidelines

COVID-19 ushered in a long, grueling and lonely year of isolation and fear – but families and friends can now visit their loved ones in long-term care facilities. To ensure safety, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has set limitations and restrictions that are being strictly enforced. Here’s what those who wish to visit should know:

  1. Some facilities will provide point of entry rapid COVID-19 testing.

  2. Otherwise, visitors must provide proof of negative test results from a test taken within 72-hours of the visit. Phone numbers for free testing sites appear in this issue’s Newsbriefs section. Insurance companies have agreed to test at no cost.

  3. Testing is not required for visitors 13 years of age or younger.

  4. Visits to long-term care facilities are by scheduled appointment only and time limitations may be imposed.

  5. No more than two visitors per resident at the same time.

  6. Visitors participating in end-of-life visits may have physical contact if the resident is not COVID-19 positive, is wearing appropriate PPE, and the time spent within 6-feet of the resident is no longer than 15 minutes. Although it is recommended, visitors to these residents are not required to be tested.

  7. Facilities will require visitors to maintain social distance, staying six feet from residents, so there is no physical contact for either inside or outside visits.

  8. In-room visitations are prohibited if your loved one has a roommate.

  9. Bringing food into the facility may not be allowed.

  10. Facilities must make available an employee or volunteer trained in infection control measures at all times during the visit. This person does not supervise the visit but is available to answer questions.

  11. Facilities should accommodate visitor requests for window visits, visits by spiritual leaders and non-medical service providers (i.e., cosmetologists, nail technicians) contracted by the facility.

For further guidance, contact your local Michigan Long Term Care Ombudsman at 1.866.485.9393, or mltcop.org

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