Do you have a loved one in a nursing home? Can you believe that it has been more than 200 days since the earliest order for quarantine took place? COVID-19 has put our lives on hold since March, and changed our way of life. Florida has experienced a great number of confirmed cases and deaths. It is a state with a large elderly population where a high percentage live in its 4,000 plus nursing homes and care facilities. 

COVID-19 has claimed more than 200,000 lives in America, and a major portion of the victims have been the elderly due to their compromised health. Another major factor for the elderly being more vulnerable is that many of them live in close proximity to others and need to be in contact with caretakers. This can be especially true in the nursing home environment. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently announced the lift of the state’s ban on visiting nursing homes.  He stated that the lift is a response to the need of these residents to “seek affection” and “be able to say goodbye” or to hug somebody, because loneliness and isolation have also claimed many lives among the elderly.

Precautions are in place to protect the residents of nursing homes in the Governor’s order.  Family members will be designated as essential care providers. They are allowed to visit their loved ones, no more than two at a time. They must wear protective gear, including masks.  Facilities would need to be free, for 14 days, of any new cases of COVID-19 among staff or residents to allow the visits. No hugs are allowed. Children under the age of 18 are not yet allowed.  The state Agency for Health Care Administration task force, in charge, cites that nearly two-thirds of facilities in Florida have not had new cases since August 11, 2020, to support this order.

Concerns include, exposure by physical contact and spread from asymptomatic COVID carriers.  Health and elder care experts recommend an at-the-door, rapid testing protocol to screen out asymptomatic visitors, practice social distancing, and avoid physical contact when visiting loved ones at a nursing home. Furthermore, the head of the CDC has recommended mask-wearing and hand-washing.  Facilities must learn to balance human needs for affection with residents’ health and safety.

Do you have other questions or concerns about the nursing home reopening process? Our experienced team of local attorneys is here to answer your questions. We know local experience matters! For more information on how COVID-19 has impacted long-term care facilities in the state, we are here for you. You may call, chat, or contact us at any time. Put our team to work for you!