Four State nursing homes restricting visitors due to COVID-19 concerns

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JOPLIN, Mo. (KSNF) — Multiple long-term care facilities in the Four State region are restricting visitors and non-essential vendors.

According to Jeff Bell, Administrator of Granby House in Granby, MO. they are following the recommendations put forth by the CMS, as well. 

We have put in place restrictions on all visitors and non-essential vendors at this time in order to protect our residents who are among the most vulnerable to the virus. 

Jeff Bell, Granby House Administrator

McDonald County Living Center in Anderson, Mo. is following the recommendations of the CDC and CMS and partnering is with Emergency Management and Health Department to have a continuous line of communication. Administrator, Susan Woods, said that they are taking extra precautions and have intervention plans in place, in part with the input from the Emergency Resident Council. 

Visitors can expect to be stopped in the entryway by double doors and asked to fill out a questionnaire that asks whether they have traveled abroad, been ill in the last several weeks or been near anyone who has been ill. Once cleared, visitors will be given hand sanitizer prior to being admitted into the facility. 

Tonya Johnson, of Medicalodges of Pittsburg, states they are also screening visitors at the door and will continue to follow the CMS recommendations until further notice. 

Most of the facilities state that family members can stay up-to-date on the status of the restrictions through the respective facility’s website or social media pages. 

The facilities are taking an abundance of caution until the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services updates their guidelines. 

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued revised guidance on March 9, 2020 for skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) for preventing the spread of COVID-19 into SNFs by limiting visitors. Earlier in the day, the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) issued very similar recommendations to providers. Both of these guidance documents address screening staff, contractors, vendors and visitors. The intent and purposes are the same except for a few very slight variations in how the guidance documents are written. Both aim at controlling the spread of the virus. We both recommend: Actively screening every person who comes into a center: family visitors, staff, contractors, government officials – anyone who is coming in Limiting visits to only those who are essential (AHCA/NCAL and CMS are defining “essential” slightly differently) Focusing on good hand hygiene Exploring alternate ways for residents to stay in touch with their loved ones Encouraging SNFs to provide communication and updates to families AHCA/NCAL and CMS agree that what is important is that this virus is serious and deadly in the elderly (much more so than in the general population), and the serious risk of spread and death needs to be taken into consideration when evaluating how to limit visitors. There may be extenuating circumstances, and these decisions need to be made in each individual center with each individual resident.

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