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Will relaxed nursing home visitation rules endanger residents?

It is no secret that one of the most important things people can do to avoid contracting COVID-19 is to avoid physical proximity with others who test positive for the virus. However, the restrictions to protect elderly residents are being lifted in various facilities throughout the state.

Is this relaxing of visitation limitations endangering the elderly residents of nursing home and assisted living facilities?

The lifting of the protective orders

At the beginning of the pandemic, the entire country went into various degrees of lockdown, which included in Florida emergency rules prohibiting family members and friends from visiting nursing home residents in most cases.

According to a recent article in the Orlando Sentinel, “[t]hose rules were loosened last fall after a task force appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis heard testimony that nursing home residents were instead ‘dying of isolation.’”

Is this safe for our elderly relatives?

Although the efforts to allow residents in nursing homes greater access to their relatives to prevent loneliness is a good thing, there are certainly risks involved. Even with the vaccinations available today, the pandemic is still not over completely.

Further, many people – including those in the elderly care industry—still have not yet taken the vaccinations. According to the Tampa Bay Times, the majority of Florida’s long-term care staffers have not taken the vaccine.

While these concerns ring true for any facility in Florida, there is a particular concern with some specific facilities. In a recent blog post, we discussed how ManorCare of Florida has been mishandling the pandemic.

Use caution

When making critical decisions about where to your elderly relatives should live or whether you should visit, caution is the most important way to proceed. Make sure to investigate any potential facility and its health records before admitting an elderly relative. Further, make sure you get the vaccine and are tested before visiting an elder care facility. If you have had any problems with a facility and its handling of the pandemic, talk with an experienced elder care lawyer immediately. It is important to do whatever you can to keep your loved ones safe.

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