• Last modified 928 days ago (Nov. 19, 2020)


Nursing homes cinch in visitation

Staff writer

Nursing homes and assisted living centers have once again restricted visits to their facilities after rapid spikes in COVID-19 diagnoses in the county.

In some cases, this means even hospice workers are not allowed access to the patients.

Janet Herzet, director of St. Luke Living Center in Marion, said visitors are not allowed at this time. That includes hospice staff.

“We are on lockdown and not allowing any visits,” Herzet said. “We’ll do window visits if the room is on the outside, but they have to wear masks.”

Hospice visits are being done by teleconference.

The hospice agency tells the nursing staff what the patient needs and the nursing staff provides that care, Herzet said.

Compassionate care visits will be decided on an individual basis, Herzet said.

Kathy Noriega, director of nursing at Marion Assisted Living, said the center is back to having outdoor and window visits only, but hospice workers are still permitted to enter the facility.

“We do allow our hospice workers because they are tested,” Noriega said. “Not many other people are allowed.”

She said she reviews the hospice workers’ test results prior to them being allowed to come inside.

Lisa Donahue, marketing and public relations director at Salem Home in Hillsboro, said the facility does still allow hospice workers to enter the facility if they test before entering or bring proof of a negative test within the previous two days.

“Basically in our facility, hospice workers are essential workers,” Donahue said. “We’re going to be testing twice a week anyway for our staff.”

Donahue said some hospice groups have chosen not to come to Salem Home while extra COVID testing is taking place because the facility did have a couple positive tests and is in a period of extra testing.

But those hospice agencies continue to give Salem Home staff instructions for their patients and the nursing staff provides that care.

Friends and family visits are very limited at Salem.

“Right now Marion County’s ratio is high enough that we are not allowing visitation in the building,” Donahue said.

Outside visits can be arranged in advance as staff availability permits.

“We’re all following the regulations as to how this is supposed to work,” Donahue said.

Sara Hiebert, CEO of Bethesda in Goessel, said few visitors are permitted now.

“Right now we are not doing visitation at Bethesda except for compassionate care visits,” Hiebert said. “We urge the community to wear masks, practice social distancing, do good hygiene, and avoid any public gatherings or even small gatherings with others who you do not live with. It’s too high risk and the hospitals are overrun.”

No Bethesda patients are receiving hospice care.

Dawn Veh, CEO of Parkside Homes in Hillsboro, said all visitation except compassionate care is stopped.

Not only is the COVID rate high in the community, the nursing home had a staff member test positive Nov. 3.

Veh said staff continues to be tested because of the positive diagnosis of the staff member.

“Because of the high rates in the county, we have stopped all visits except compassionate care,” Veh said. “We limit the number of hospice staff that can come in, and they have to be tested on the same schedule that we are tested — which is at this point is twice a week.”

Last modified Nov. 19, 2020