At the direction of Gov. Ron DeSantis, the Task Force on the Safe and Limited Re-Opening of Long-Term Care Facilities prepared and released their final recommendations to safely allow visitation in long-term care facilities in Florida.
“The Task Force thoughtfully constructed a blueprint for the safe reopening of long-term care facilities,” said DeSantis on Tuesday. “Limiting visitation at these facilities was a very difficult decision that took an emotional toll on families and residents, especially on those who suffer from cognitive impairments such as Alzheimer’s. With the right precautions in place, I’m confident we can safely re-open visitation at these facilities and reunite families who have been so patient throughout this process.”
“Under the leadership of Governor DeSantis, Florida took swift and decisive action to protect our most vulnerable residents against the threat of COVID-19,” said Agency for Health Care Administration (HCA) Sec. Mary Mayhew.“Human connection and visitation are vital to meeting the mental and emotional needs of those in long-term care. The visitation restrictions have been extremely challenging on individuals in these facilities and their loved ones, and the Task Force recommendations support residents safely reconnecting with their families.”
The Task Force held a total of five publicly-broadcasted meetings between August 14-26, 2020, where they developed and discussed the guidelines and recommendations outlined in their report.
The following are the finalized recommendations:
- Allow visitation in long-term care facilities for Essential Caregivers and Compassionate Care visitors. These individuals provide important care and support to residents of long-term facilities, like bathing, feeding and emotional support.
- Allow general resident outdoor and indoor visitation if the facility meets certain indicators of low virus risk.
- Each visitation scenario must be accompanied by facility policies and procedures that support the safety of all residents and visitors. Policies and procedures must address appropriate training and mandatory use of masks and other infection control protections, including screening and visitor scheduling and management.