Long-term care facilities evaluating visitation policies

Updated: May. 9, 2021 at 6:32 PM CDT
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LUXEMBURG, Wis. (WBAY) - As vaccinations continue, long-term care facilities are now reevaluating their visitation policies, and are considering leaving some pandemic restrictions in place.

Autumn Fields, located in Luxemburg, has changed how it handles visits.

For safety measures, they continue to use a shed in the back of their building for visitations, which allows people to talk to their loved ones through a microphone.

Experts say family members need to have empathy and understanding since some residents haven’t left the facility in months, and add it’s important to ask the nurses questions.

“People need to be prepared for probably a different kind of visiting, because it’s not like it was when they first came here. Like I said, only family members are visiting right now. We’re not allowing friends into the facility, or grandchildren that are under the age of 16,” said Lori Hucek, the Administrator for Autumn Fields Senior Living.

“You may talk to someone on a weekly basis, and they’ll say ‘Oh I’m doing fine. I’m working on my crossword puzzle,’ or what have you. But, the nurses will have the real data, how they’re really doing, have they lost weight,” said Maura Horton, a Care Coach.

Before vaccinations, a majority of COVID-19 deaths happened at nursing homes.

According to federal data, 132,000 people have died at those types of facilities due to COVID-19, and the New York Times reports new cases among nursing home residents have dropped more than 80% since vaccines became available.

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