Rethinking Reopening: Group Advises Careful Approach

By By Dan Hounsell
March 4, 2021

The arrival of vaccines for the coronavirus has begun to change the mindset of patients, families and the staffs of healthcare facilities. With a larger percentage of the general population — and specifically, people older than 65 and front-line healthcare workers — now receiving vaccinations, attention is turning to the possibility of reopening facilities.

But as operators of long-term care facilities consider easing restrictions that have been in effect for almost a year, the AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, recommends a measured approach to resuming visitation and group activities, advocating for COVID-19 vaccines, continuing visitor screenings, and requiring masking and social distancing.

With the availability of three vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, AMDA says optimism is mounting about the possibility of resuming group activities, including communal dining and visitation, according to McKnight’s Senior Living

Many states are implementing essential caregiver and compassionate caregiver programs to allow residents to designate family members to visit during a public health emergency.

Communities have to take a thoughtful approach to reopening to balance the risks of COVID-19 with the negative effects on activity and visitation restrictions, says AMDA Executive Director Christopher E. Laxton.

Parameters affecting the risk of COVID-19 transmission in congregate care settings include community spread, personal protective equipment, testing, staff member and resident cohorting, and the ability to quickly identify and isolate active cases.

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