The State of New Jersey has announced directives for long-term care facilities to restart visits with family and friends. Beginning June 21, New Jersey’s nursing homes, assisted living residences, dementia care homes, pediatric transitional care homes, and comprehensive personal care homes, can welcome reunions with loved ones in a designated outdoor space. Individuals should check with long-term care facilities for specific visitor policies. Pursuant to the NJ Department of Health Directive, measures that must be in place to reduce risks.
Directives for long-term care facilities to restart visits
- A resident who is suspected or confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 or quarantined for a COVID-19 exposure cannot have visitors. A resident who has tested positive is allowed visitation after they have met the criteria for discontinuation of isolation.
- There will only be two visitors permitted at a time and the visitors must remain at least 6 feet away from the resident. Both visitors and residents must wear face coverings.
- A staff member, wearing a surgical mask, must remain with the resident during the visit.
- A designated area should be established for visitors to be screened that maintains social distancing and infection control standards. If the individual has any COVID-19 symptoms, they will not be permitted to visit with a resident.
- Visitors are not allowed beyond the reception area of the facilities and restrooms will not be available to them.
- When staff are transporting the resident outdoors, they cannot be moved through any space where either positive or suspected COVID patients are cohorted. A safe distance of 6 feet distance must be maintained between other residents and staff.
- Long-term care facilities should communicate the visitor policy to residents, families, staff and others. They should receive informed consent from the resident and the visitor in writing that they are aware of the possible dangers of COVID-19 exposure and that they will comply with the facility’s policies during the visit. As part of the consent form, the visitor must agree to notify the facility if they test positive for the virus or have symptoms within 14 days of visiting.
Hopefully, this new Directive will keep residents safe while reducing social isolation experienced by residents during the past 90 plus days. We strongly suggest families contact the long-term care community to ensure family members have the ability to visit with their loved ones in compliance with the Directive.