Many Iowa long-term care centers are opening their doors to visitors for the first time in a full year. Amber Andrews, nursing director at the Good Neighbor Home in Manchester, says residents there are delighted with the change.
“We do not have any restrictions as to who can enter the building,” Andrews says. “Currently, residents can have up to two visitors in their room at a time. Children do count as visitors, regardless of their age. We do allow groups of up to five but we do need those visits to happen in larger spaces.”
Infection and death rates were very high from the virus for older Iowans, so strict guidelines were enacted for nursing homes — rules which are now being relaxed. Jolene Haas, a nurse educator at the Good Neighbor Home, says they’ll continue to screen all visitors for any signs and symptoms of COVID.
“We are asking that every visitor enter through the main entrance,” Haas says. “This is really to ensure that we are screening everybody properly and we really do have a good idea of how many visitors we have in our building at once so we can maintain the social distancing guidelines that we do need to maintain.”
Visitors who answer yes to any screening questions or if they have a temperature of 100 or higher won’t be allowed in, though visitors will not be questioned about their vaccination status. After a long year of living in quarantine and connecting with families through video, phone calls, or even through the window, Andrews says residents are grateful for face-to-face visits again.
“We honestly can’t thank the community enough and the residents’ families for all their support over the last year,” Andrews says. “We are extremely excited to be able to ease restrictions and just get back to normal at the home and for residents to have those connections again with their loved ones.”
Visitors are urged to follow the guidelines, keep their masks on, and stay in the resident’s room when visiting.
(By Janelle Tucker, KMCH, Manchester)