Visits Limited to 2 People per Resident; Temperature Checks, PPE, Social Distancing Required
Resumes Ombudsman Program in all Nursing Homes; Ombudsmen Must Test Negative Within Last Week, Wear PPE, Undergo Temperature Checks
ALBANY, N.Y. (July 10, 2020) - State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker today announced nursing homes and long term care facilities in New York will be allowed to resume limited visitations for facilities that have been without COVID-19 for at least 28 days, a threshold set by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Residents in these facilities will be allowed two visitors at a time, and the visitors must undergo temperature checks, wear face coverings and socially distance during the visit. At least one of the two visitors must be at least 18 years of age or older. For each facility, only 10 percent of the residents can be allowed visitors at any time; for example, in a 100-bed facility no more than 10 residents can have visitors per day in order to maintain proper social distancing and ensure safe compliance. Nursing Homes accepting visitors will be required to send their visitation plan to NYSDOH and affirmatively attest that they are following the guidance outlined here.
The Health Commissioner also announced the resumption of on-site visitation for the state’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman program, which provides additional support to residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities, effective July 15, 2020. Ombudsman staff must utilize appropriate PPE for the duration of the visit, and must be screened as if they were a staff person of such nursing home, including having to present a verified negative test result to the nursing home within the past week.
The Department of Health will make adjustments to the visitation policy as appropriate based on facts and data following this initial phase to ensure the health and safety of residents, staff and visitors. View State DOH guidance for resumption of limited visitation at nursing homes, adult care facilities and pediatric skilled nursing facilities.
“With the knowledge we now have about how COVID-19 came into nursing homes – mainly through asymptomatic staff and visitors through no fault of their own – it is critical that as we resume visitations to these facilities we do it in a smart and cautious way to ensure the health and safety of residents and staff,” State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said. “We will continue to closely monitor the situation in each facility, and make adjustments based on the facts and data moving forward. I know how painful it has been for residents of these facilities to endure such a long period of time without seeing family and loved ones, and my hope is that this adjustment to the visitation policy will provide some comfort to everyone.”
In June, the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued guidance saying: "Nursing homes should continue to follow CMS and CDC guidance for preventing the transmission of COVID-19, and follow state and local direction. Because nursing home residents are especially vulnerable, CMS does not recommend reopening facilities to visitors (except for compassionate care situations) until phase three when: There have been no new, nursing home onset COVID-19 cases in the nursing home for 28 days.”
Poughkeepsie, NY … Though the COVID-19 pandemic has postponed a variety of events throughout the Hudson Valley, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro announced the Dutchess County Office for the Aging (OFA) will continue providing socialization opportunities for local seniors by offering socially distant, drive-through Senior Picnics in a dozen communities over a six-week period, in lieu of the traditional, in-person picnics the OFA has held since 1993.
Beginning on July 28th, and continuing each Tuesday and Thursday through Sept. 3rd, the County will welcome seniors from individual communities to a central gathering point to drive up and receive a bag lunch to take home and enjoy – providing seniors with a balanced meal, important information about aging and interaction with OFA staff and volunteers, while maintaining social-distancing guidelines. Local establishments will prepare the lunches for each drive-through picnic; seniors can drop off unused/unwanted medications for safe disposal at each event; and County Executive Molinaro and local leaders will attend picnics, greeting seniors in their cars.
County Executive Molinaro said, “While the pandemic has altered the way Dutchess County Government has delivered many programs and services to residents, our commitment to our seniors is unwavering, and we’ll continue to provide a picnic experience, albeit it slightly different than in years past. Our ‘drive-thru’ Senior Picnics will provide our residents with a nutritious meal, which they’ve received at OFA picnics for decades, while still providing fresh air and socialization as they pass through to pick up their lunch and say, ‘Hello.’ We look forward to welcoming thousands of seniors this summer, and we’ll continue to find ways to mitigate the pandemic’s impact on residents as we continue restarting Dutchess.”
Earlier this month, OFA staff began mailing invitations to residents 60 years of age and older, inviting them to the drive-through picnic in their respective community; OFA staff will provide seniors a designated time to pick up their lunch when they RSVP. Reservations to each picnic are limited, and there is an $8 fee for those under 60 who wish to receive a lunch.
The schedule of picnics is as follows:
Tuesday, July 28th
West Road School
181 West Road, Pleasant Valley
Thursday, July 30th
Memorial Park ballfield
Robert Cahill Drive, Beacon
Tuesday, August 4th
Town of Wappinger, Village of Wappingers Falls
Wappingers Junior High School
30 Major Macdonald Way, Wappinger
Thursday, August 6th
Town of Poughkeepsie
85 Sheafe Road, Poughkeepsie
Tuesday, August 11th
North East, Pine Plains, Stanford and Washington
Stissing Mountain High School
2928 Church Street, Pine Plains
Thursday, August 13th
City of Poughkeepsie
St. John’s Church
55 Wilbur Boulevard, Poughkeepsie
Tuesday, August 18th
Clinton and Hyde Park
Regina Coeli Church
2 Harvey Street, Hyde Park
Thursday, August 20th
Town of Fishkill, Village of Fishkill
Geering Way, Fishkill
Tuesday, August 25th
Beekman and LaGrange
212 Skidmore Road, LaGrange
Thursday, August 27th
Hopewell Recreation Park
890 Route 82, Hopewell Junction
Tuesday, September 1st
Milan, Red Hook, Rhinebeck
Dutchess County Fairgrounds
6636 Route 9, Rhinebeck
Thursday, September 3rd
Amenia, Dover, Pawling, Union Vale
6420 State Route 55, Wingdale
The OFA’s 2020 Senior Picnic Series is sponsored by Evercare at Home and Home Energy Consultants, Inc. Residents who would like to volunteer at any of this summer’s Senior Picnics can contact the OFA at firstname.lastname@example.org or (845) 486-2555.
More than 3,800 residents attended the dozen OFA Senior Picnics held in 2019, and 190 pounds of unwanted/unused medications were collected for safe disposal at last year’s picnics.
The OFA plans, coordinates and provides an array of community-based services to seniors and persons who require assistance in the long term care system, in an effort to promote independence, dignity and quality of life. In 2019, OFA staff served more than 13,000 residents through a variety of services and programs. More information about the OFA and its critical work is available on the County’s website.
There is no better time to assure you have your wishes known at the end of life should you be unable to make decisions for yourself. During the COVID-19 emergency, the immense value of thoughtful end-of-life discussions and documentation of medical orders was recognized by health systems in all settings across our state.
Advance directives such as the New York Health Care Proxy and Living Will and medical orders documented on the Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST), when appropriate, are key tools to assure your wishes are honored. Start your conversation today! Over the next few weeks we will provide links and tools to help you make sure your wishes are honored.
Please see https://compassionandsupport.org/advance-care-planning/cccc/advance-directives/