No visitors allowed in Kansas nursing homes indefinitely

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TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — The coronavirus is continuing to impact families across the state. Now, both federal and state governments are changing rules and restrictions for nursing homes.

For people over the age of 50, or those with weakened immune systems, the coronavirus can have serious health concerns and could even lead to death. Because of this, nursing homes are implementing new rules to protect those people.

Janet Meininger Caballero’s husband has progressive supranuclear palsy and needs around the clock care. For the last seven months, he has lived in an assisted living facility. Janet has visited her husband every day, until she couldn’t anymore.

“They stopped me at the door and said, ‘well, you can’t see him’ and I said, ‘I see him every day’,” explained Janet.

The facility was following new guidelines that restricts all visitors and non-essential staff from entering the building; this to help limit the likelihood that someone could bring in the coronavirus. If a resident is at the end of their life, family and friends would be permitted to visit. They would need to wear personal protective equipment, such as a mask, and the visit would be limited to one room.

Under the new guidelines, the facilities are also required to cancel all group activities and group dining. Residents and staff must also undergo daily screenings for coronavirus symptoms.

“Our goal really is to keep people safe, to keep them healthy and to keep them alive,” said Secretary Laura Howard of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services.

Secretary Howard added that it’s still important residents of these facilities to have social interaction.

“What we’ve asked the facilities to do is to work really hard on ways to continue contact with family members, with friends,” said Howard.

This could include phone calls, video calls or writing cards. But Janet hopes she will be able to see her husband, in person, soon.

“This is a progressive disease. I don’t know from one day to the next if he’s going to get worse,” said Janet. “It’s not about me. It’s about him and how he has to be reminded every day why I’m not there.”

Secretary Howard says these new requirements will remain in place as long as the CDC recommends.

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