COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Governor Mike DeWine announced nursing homes will be allowed to start in person, outdoor visits starting July 20.
One retirement village in Dublin hopes others use their successful outdoor visitation model as they start to phase in outdoor visits too.
“It was rough I tell you. It was one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life,” said Barbara Shapiro who lives at the Senior Star Assisted Living Community.
Shapiro remembers not too long ago when she was stuck in her room for weeks at a time with no visitors and limited activity. In her four years living at Senior Star Assisted Living Community, Shapiro has never missed a visit with her sister, Nancy, until March of this year.
“We got through it to this point,” said Nancy Madej, Barbra’s sister.
Assisted Living facilities like Senior Star at the Dublin Retirement Village have been doing outdoor visits since June 8.
“It means all the difference in the world,” explained Nancy Madej.
Administrator, Dionne Nickol, says these visits have been amazing for the residents.
“We’ve seen a difference in some of the residents who have been declining,” Nickol said.
Even though they were given the green light to allow visitors, the decision to actually do so didn’t come lightly. Nickol said they had to make sure they had all the proper protocols and safety measures in place and that it took some trial and error to get it figured out.
“The biggest thing is we need to keep COVID-19 out,” said Nickol. “It is not inside the community so we have to make sure we’re smart about who we let into the community.”
Senior Star Assisted Living Community has everyone enter through the front door, visitors have their temperatures taken when they check in, each chair is sanitized after being used and social distancing and masks are required.
“I know they want to hug their loved ones and it’s hard to tell them they can’t,” noted Nickol.
She explains that when these nursing homes open to outdoor visits, they have to take even more steps to take care of their vulnerable population. She knows either way the visits are something everyone needs right now.
“I think it will be wonderful for those residents,” Nickol said. “It’s really important that the families adhere to the guidelines.”