Signature HealthCARE facilities are allowing in-person visitation for residents and families after new guidelines were issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
These nursing homes — all managed through Signature HealthCARE — include Hermitage Care and Rehabilitation Center and Signature HealthCARE at Hillcrest in Owensboro, as well as Riverside Care & Rehabilitation Center in Calhoun and Signature HealthCARE of Hartford Rehabilitation & Wellness Center.
As facilities prepare for reopening, outdoor visitation will always be the preferred manner for in-person visitation. This strictly follows the recommended CMS guidelines, which advocates outdoor visitation whenever practicable, as outdoor visits pose a lower risk of transmission due to increased space and airflow.
According to a news release, “We must remember, even with many in our population being vaccinated for COVID-19 and with the new guidelines being implemented to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure and transmission, these actions do not and will not completely eliminate the risk.”
Since the nursing home population still remains vulnerable to COVID-19 and other viruses, like the flu, Signature HealthCARE asks that communities and families diligently adhere to the new guidelines in each facility, as set by CMS and the state. They include but are not limited to:
• Visitor screening, including temperature checks, a COVID-19 questionnaire and symptom observation, all of which must be passed.
• Precautionary infection control measures, including hand hygiene requirements.
• Visitor masks (covering mouth and nose) and other personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements.
• In advance scheduling of visits. Unscheduled or walk-in visits are not permitted.
• Visitor social distancing at least 6 feet apart from all persons.
• Limited visitation times so all residents can be accommodated.
• Posting of facility signage indicating COVID-19 signs, symptoms and best mitigation practices.
• Residents and staff COVID-19 testing, as regulations require.
While CMS does not require visitors to be fully vaccinated, their guidelines and Signature HealthCARE strongly encourage visitors be fully vaccinated for the utmost protection of loved ones in long-term care facilities. Furthermore, facilities may still prevent visitation based on a variety of factors under the new guidelines. In particular:
• Unvaccinated residents will not be permitted to have visitors if the surrounding county’s COVID-19 positive rate is above 10%, or less than 70% of residents in a facility have been fully vaccinated.
• Residents who have been confirmed COVID-19 positive will not be able to receive visitors until they meet testing criteria that allows discontinuation of transmission-based protocols.
• Quarantined residents cannot accept visitors until criteria is met to be released from quarantine.
• If a new case of COVID-19 is identified within a facility, visitation will be suspended until one round of facility-wide testing is complete to determine needed protocols.
“We have looked forward to the day when our residents, families, and staff could once again enjoy seeing loved ones in-person,” said E. Joseph Steier, III, President and CEO of Signature HealthCARE. “Now, that time has finally come. We know from our own separation from our families how difficult these days have been. We cannot thank our families and communities enough for your gracious understanding, thoughts, prayers and support during these challenging days and it gives us great pleasure to begin reopening our doors again under these new government guidelines. We are all in this pandemic fight together, and our goal is to keep everyone safe and healthy as we continue to press on toward brighter days.”