Local nursing homes currently not open to visits

Warner: ‘It is a difficult balance to find’

By McKenzie Caldwell - [email protected]

Earlier this month, Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Interim Director Lane Himes signed an order that allowed nursing homes to resume indoor visitation on Oct. 12 as long as the facilities met specific health and safety requirements. However, as of this week, no Highland County nursing homes will resume indoor visitation.

According to the latest order, which is the fifth iteration of a March order that limited access to long-term care facilities, nursing homes must consider the following when preparing to resume indoor visitation:

* The number of new and active cases in the surrounding community;

* The number of new and active cases in the nursing home;

* Staffing levels;

* Access to adequate testing for residents and staff members;

* Personal protective equipment supplies;

* Local hospital capacity.

The order also requires that once a nursing home resumes indoor visitation, it must screen visitors and require visitors to wear masks.

Due to the increase in new cases in Highland County, Laurels of Hillsboro Administrator Jo Sanborn told The Times-Gazette that the Laurels will not resume indoor visitation at this time.

Heartland of Hillsboro Admissions and Marketing Director Ashley Poole also told The Times-Gazette that Heartland is not open for visitation at this time, though she added, “We hope to eventually have visitation, but we have no set date yet.”

A representative of Crestwood Ridge Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation told The Times-Gazette that Crestwood is “not starting [visitation] immediately.”

In Greenfield, Edgewood Manor Administrator Pierre Sweeney told The Times-Gazette that Edgewood is not currently able to offer indoor visitation, but loved ones may make an appointment for outdoor visitation by calling 937-981-2165. Outdoor visitors must undergo screenings at the nursing home prior to their scheduled visits.

According to a representative of Greenfield Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation, the facility is also not allowing indoor visitation at this time.

Highland County Health Commissioner Jared Warner told The Times-Gazette in a Wednesday email, “The health department provides regular input and support for nursing home visitation policies as each nursing home does their best to comply with the state’s visitation order. It is a difficult balance to find, because we all recognize how important it is to be with the people that we love in these nursing homes, but we also recognize the potential COVID-19 risks of indoor visitation.”

A press release from Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s office stated, “This order also details compassionate care visits, which are separate and distinct from normal visitation. These visits are not exclusively for end-of-life situations, but can also include situations where a resident was recently admitted to the home and are struggling with the change in environment and lack of family support.

“Other situations can include when a resident is grieving someone who recently passed away, a resident that may need encouragement to eat or drink that was previously provided by a family member or caregiver and is experiencing weight loss or dehydration, or when a resident is experiencing emotional distress.”

Once visitation resumes at Highland County nursing homes, the most recent health order requires nursing homes to limit visits to a maximum of 30 minutes with two visitors per resident. Visitors will be required to maintain social distancing and wear a face covering.

Loved ones will be required to schedule visits ahead of time, and the visits will take place separately from the residents’ rooms.

To read the full document, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.

Warner: ‘It is a difficult balance to find’

By McKenzie Caldwell

[email protected]