On Thursday afternoon, Governor Steve Bullock issued a directive allowing safe visitation in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Jessica Rhoades, Health Policy Advisor to Governor Bullock explained the directive.

“The Governor made these decisions n consultation with gerontologists, nurses, facility managers, family members and public health experts,” said Rhoades. “The Governor is also concerned about the effect of closing the facilities and the physical isolation of older adults. He put together a work group of these entities to make a recommendation for facilities who wanted to offer visitation while maintaining patient safety.”

Rhoades said facility operators must look at several variables before allowing visitation.

“Those things include access to personal protective equipment, the ability to screen visitors, the occurrence and threat of the virus in their communities, and the ability to test residents and staff regularly and the staff’s capacity to ensure that cleanliness and increased sanitation would be conducted.”

Rhoades said the families of the residents would also be consulted before allowing visitors.

“The Governor’s directive asks the facilities to notify family members before they make the decision to allow visitation, if they decide to do so and to let them know the particular policy the facility adopts,” she said.

Before permitting visitation, facilities should review the applicable CDC and CMS guidance and determine that they are capable of following them.