HEMPHILL, Texas (KTRE) - New guidelines went into effect Thursday regarding visitations within nursing homes, assisted living and long-term care facilities in Texas.
Those guidelines include:
- Residents can designate up to two essential family caregivers who will have safety training prior to the visit.
- Those caregivers will also wear Personal Protective Equipment at all times.
- They must have tested negative for COVID-19 within the previous 14 days before visiting. That is ongoing not just for the initial visit.
- Only one caregiver can visit a resident at a time.
- General visitors are allowed to have no-contact visits, outdoor or indoor, with plexiglass safety barriers.
- Facilities must continue to meet all additional visitation requirements outlined by the state.
“It’s been a long time; six months,” Denise Wise said.
That was the last time Wise got to see face-to-face her mother-in-law, who became a resident at the Hemphill Care Center this past December.
“It was very good to see her," Wise said. "I didn’t know we could touch them, but we could. I got to hug her and hug her tight. It was nice. It was really nice.”
Governor Greg Abbott announced the new regulations on visiting nursing home, assisted living and long-term care facilities last week that would start Thursday.
“They can visit each day but not in the same day," Hemphill Care Center Administrator Tiffani Bradberry. "There is a time limit for when they can be here. We do have to train them, but when we do train them on the proper use of PPE, hand sanitation, signs/symptoms of COVID and our policies within the facility, then they do not have social distance with their loved one. And that’s the one thing that we’re happiest about.”
“That one moment where come in and get to hug their family member, you relate to that and think 'what if that was my mom?," Hemphill Care Center Project Manager Shannon Mitchell said.
Kathy Tomlinson got to see her mom, who is battling Alzheimer’s.
“I’m not sure if she knows who I am," Tomlinson said. "I would visit her mostly every day before this and I was a familiar face. But by the end of the visit I think she might have known who I was. I don’t know but it was a great feeling.”
Dale Miller visited his dad.
“We had been talking through that window over there or through the front door since March,” he said. “Just to be able to sit and talk to him and look him in the eyes. We FaceTime with my daughter who lives in Salt Lake City, and it was really good.”
“We are not in any way a replacement for a spouse, son, daughter or friend," Bradberry said. “But we do love these people and they do love us and we are a family here.”
“I think I am still in shock," Miller said. "We will see, but we get to do it again tomorrow. We’ve looked very forward to this day and so has our mom.”
Hemphill Care Center officials says no COVID-19 related deaths have been reported in their facility. They say they had few cases among staff and one resident months ago.
If one staff member or resident tests positive for COVID-19, the facility will suspend visitation for at least 14 days or until the facility is virus free.
Click here to see Gov. Abbott’s guidelines on long-term care, nursing and intermediate care facilities.