After a year of distance, in person visits are back in long-term care facilities

Published: Mar. 22, 2021 at 5:08 PM CDT
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MOHALL, N.D. – When the pandemic hit last March, many long-term care residents were not allowed to have in-person visits.

However, with new guidelines from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released at the beginning of the month, in-person visits are once again allowed, as long-term care facilities take another step to normalcy.

With the restrictions in long-term care facilities beginning to lift, residents like Kathy Peterson at Good Samaritan Society in Mohall are full of optimism.

“I will be able to re-do the relationships, get to find about how everybody is doing in my town,” said Peterson.

Peterson’s mostly excited to get out of the facility and get out on the town.

“Even just driving around and seeing how things are,” said Peterson.

The facility has allowed in-person visits since December, but they were very restricted and limited.

“The new guidelines really loosen that up so family members can come and go as they please. So, it’s fun, it’s really fun to see,” said Sue Leupp, the facility’s administrator.

Longterm care coordinators looked back at the challenges long-term care facilities have faced before being able to take this leap.

“I think back on the day and I always call it Friday the 13th in November when we had the highest number of cases in our long-term care facilities and that was well over 1,600 and today as the others said we are down to 34,” said Roseanne Schmidt, a North Dakota VP3 regional coordinator.

They’re now moving on the path toward normalcy.

“Families are residents are like are just, we had families from Minneapolis in this weekend. Coming back from Arizona they can come in now. It’s just a welcome relief,” said Leupp.

It’s a welcome relief a year in the making.

In-person visitations are allowed regardless of if the resident or visitor have the COVID vaccine unless the county positivity rate is high.

As of March 22, Good Samaritan Society in Mohall has 85% of its residents vaccinated.

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