Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is encouraging nursing homes in the states to open for compassionate care visits for residents who have been struggling during the pandemic.
DeWine said during a press conference on Monday that he had sent a letter to every nursing home in the state reminding them to stay updated with county positivity rates and to allow for compassionate care visits.
According to federal guidelines, nursing homes and assisted care facilities must meet three criteria to allow visitation: no new onset coronavirus cases in the past 14 days, the facility is not currently conducting outbreak testing and the county positivity rate is under 10 percent.
“Even if the nursing home is not allowed to have visits because they do not meet the three criteria from [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services], visitation can and should still happen in certain circumstances,” DeWine said on Monday. “Under the federal CMS rules, compassionate care visits are always allowed. Let me repeat that — under the federal CMS guidance, compassionate care visits are always permitted.”
All visitation was previously blocked in the state in March 2020, with exceptions for when a resident was near death, DeWine said. The visitation guidelines have gradually loosened, with outdoor visits beginning in June.
DeWine said that compassionate care does not apply solely in end of life situations.
“Compassionate care visits are special visits in which a family or other visitor provides comfort and assistance to a resident whose wellbeing is suffering or at risk,” DeWine said. “These visits would be utilized in many circumstances to get that loved one well again or to halt a decline in that loved one.”
Examples of circumstances in which compassionate care visitation would apply would be:
- Residents who had been recently admitted to the nursing home and were struggling with the change
- Residents who are experiencing grief over the death of a friend or family members
- Residents who used to talk or interact with patients who are now seldom speaking or crying more frequently
- Residents with a new prescription for antipsychotic drugs, antidepressants or appetite stimulant
- Residents whose dementia has “dramatically progressed”
DeWine stressed that “this is not an exhaustive list.”
“The examples I just read are examples of where compassionate care visits should be allowed,” DeWine said.
Ohio residents can see if their loved one’s nursing home or assisted living facilities is open for other visitation on the state’s coronavirus dashboard.
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Jordyn Pair is a reporter with The Ohio Star and the Star news Network. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair.