Some long-term care facilities are allowing essential family caregivers to visit residents

Several residents of long-term care facilities have had declining health due to isolation and not seeing their families during the pandemic. Now, the Indiana State Department of Health has released guidelines for long-term care facilities to allow essential family caregivers to visit their loved ones.

Posted: Jul 17, 2020 7:29 PM
Updated: Jul 17, 2020 7:32 PM

DELPHI, Ind. (WLFI)- Due to COVID-19 several long-term care facilities have been on lockdown to stop the spread. Now, the Indiana State Department of Health has released guidance for long-term care facilities to allow essential family caregivers to see their loved ones.
"She's not doing well because of the isolation and limited contact with people," said Vickie Ayers whose mother lives at St. Elizabeth Healthcare Campus in Delphi.

Before the lockdown, Ayers's mother was an avid reader and had a much larger range of mobility. Now, that’s not the case.

"Since the lockdown, she now doesn't read at all,” said Ayers. “With speech therapy, we are hoping to regain a lot of that. Also, her cognitive scores have dropped."

Vickie's mom's isolation and decline in health aren't unique, that’s why the Indiana State Department of Health took notice. They released guidelines for long-term care facilities to allow essential family caregivers in their facilities.

"You have to have been someone who was active in that resident's life beforehand at least twice a week,” said Ayers. “You also have to have a negative COVID test."

Those are just some of the guidelines, essential family caregivers also have to present a plan to the care facility to show what they will do to enhance the resident's life.

"If she can't read to herself I can read to her,” added Ayers. “She likes to have her nails done and there is no one that can help with that."

While Vickie knows the pandemic is far from over being able to see her mom, gives her something to look forward to.

"It's the first hope that I have seen in four months,” said Ayers. “This was only supposed to be a very short term solution with the lockdown. Lockdowns weren't intended to be long-term."

Allowing essential family caregivers back into a long-term care facility is up to the discretion of the facility. To read the full list of guidance from ISDH click here.  Also, Ayers has created a Facebook page where family members who have loved ones in long-term care facilities in Indiana can connect. To become part of that group click here.

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