State to allow visits at nursing homes — outdoors

By Tabby Fitzgerald

The Statehouse File

INDIANAPOLIS – After spending the past several months without visits from family and friends due to the risks of the COVID-19 pandemic, Indiana nursing home residents will soon be able to welcome visitors under new state guidelines released this week. Dr. Dan Rusyniak, chief medical officer for the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, announced new guidelines for family visitation in long-term care facilities during a virtual press briefing Wednesday.

For the past several months, residents and their families have had to rely on technology to stay connected. Now, families will have a chance to connect face to face once again, but visits will still be subject to restrictions, like mandatory screenings for fever and other COVID-19 symptoms.

“We believe the risk of COVID-19 transmission in long term care facilities, and the need for family partners, close friends and other interactions can be balanced,” Rusyniak said during the press briefing. “And that is why we are releasing guidelines that will outline how facilities can, under certain conditions, allow family and friends to have outdoor visitations with the residents in long term care facilities.” Under the new guidelines, residents will be transported outside of their living facility where their families will be required to wear masks, use hand sanitizer and prove that they do not have any symptoms of COVID-19. Social distancing will be required between families, and residents that are able to wear a face mask will be recommended to do so.

For more on this story, see Saturday’s Republic.