Ohio nursing homes will be allowed to schedule outdoor visitations with nursing home residents starting Monday, July 20, Gov. Mike DeWine announced last week. Riverview Healthcare Campus in Oak Harbor is already making preparations for the visits, said Director Kendra M. German.
The Riverview facility, which has not had a resident or staff member test positive for Covid-19, was recently praised by the Ohio Department of Health for meeting all regulations designed to prevent the virus.
“While we are awaiting further guidance for this, we have begun to discuss what we believe we will be putting in place to best protect the health and safety of our residents, staff and those who are coming to visit,” said German. “Once we are able to design a plan that fits the guidelines by the State of Ohio, we will also have the plans reviewed by the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners and the Ottawa County Department of Health.”
The Riverview staff may first have to be tested by the Ohio National Guard before visits can be scheduled, which could delay visitations.
Riverview is studying renting a large tent for visitations. The protocols would most likely be similar to visits with Riverview’s assisted living residents, which were approved by the ODH recently. Visits would be appointment only, with a 6-foot distancing rule for residents and visitors. The use of face coverings would be required, as well as hand hygiene during the entire visit for visitors and residents.
“We are excited to reunite our residents and their loved ones, but it is important to remember this virus is still among us, and there is no vaccine at this time,” said German. “We must use good judgment and precautions to ensure we are doing the best for our residents, staff and visitors.”