During the COVID-19 outbreak, senior care facilities and nursing homes were identified as congregate settings at high risk for COVID-19 spread, which sent long-term care facilities into lockdown for months. These lockdowns have created a mental health crisis among senior residents that is only exacerbating the impact of the virus, which has killed more than 9,000 nursing home patients in Texas alone. In total, one of out five COVID deaths reported in Texas were nursing home patients. Resident advocates and those with loved ones on the inside say that feelings of loneliness, abandonment, despair and fear have taken their toll on residents’ mental health, pushing the death toll higher, according to the AARP.
With the weekly death toll dropping at Texas nursing homes due to more widespread vaccination of residents and staff, in-person visits at senior care facilities are now allowed. While continuing to follow all protocols to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, Texas nursing facilities can now permit:
- close/personal contact during any visitation for fully vaccinated residents.
- outdoor visitation at all facilities, even when the facility has an outbreak.
- up to two essential caregivers at the same time to visit a resident with any COVID-19 status.
- all visitation without time limits, while adhering to infection prevention and control measures.
- end-of-life visits for all residents regardless of their COVID-19 status in all nursing facilities, with an expanded definition of end-of-life visits that now includes all residents receiving hospice services; residents at or near the end of life, with or without hospice services; and residents whose prognosis does not indicate recovery.
Even with the promise of brighter days, the impact of COVID-19 on the mental health and well-being of nursing home residents has spurred Texas lawmakers to push a number of bills aimed at addressing nursing home safety. Some of that legislation would target visitation rights, after families weren’t able to see their loved ones for months due to COVID restrictions. This would allow families to check on their loved ones to make sure they are safe and being taken care of, in case of future outbreaks.
For more information on regulatory compliance and operations at senior care facilities or how Vanguard can help your senior care facility improve senior living, healthcare and operational efficiency with our specialized center management services, please visit our site at http://www.vanguardresources.com/industries/senior-services or call today at 210-495-1950.