The state of Michigan will allow more families to visit loved ones in nursing homes and other residential facilities.
The state imposed restrictions on nursing home visits to stem the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan's nursing homes. About a third of the state's coronavirus fatalities have been among people in long-term care facilities.
Previously, the state only allowed visits for terminally ill residents or those under serious physical or emotional stress.
Under the new order, nursing home residents are permitted to have outdoor visits.
“This order says you don’t need any special requirement if you are in a nursing home as long as you can observe social distancing and the nursing home hasn’t had any recent outbreaks,” says Robert Gordon, the director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
Gordon says limiting access has helped stem the spread of COVID-19 to people living in nursing homes.
“At the same time, we know limitations on visitation also have costs,” says Gordon “They impose real, serious burdens on people’s mental health. Their sense of well-being. Their sense of connection.”
Starting next week, Michigan nursing homes will be allowed to permit visitation outdoors, with restrictions:
- Permit visits by appointment only.
- Limit the number of visitors during each scheduled visit to two people or less.
- Exclude visitors who cannot or will not wear a face covering during the entire visit.
- Require visitors to maintain social distancing.
- Limit the number of overall visitors at the facility at any given time based upon space limitations, infection control capacity and other appropriate factors to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
- Prohibit visits to residents who are in isolation or under observation for symptoms of COVID-19.
Gordon says further loosening of nursing home visitation will depend on the course of the pandemic.