ST. LOUIS, MO (KMOX) - Many nursing home residents can emerge from isolation under new federal COVID-19 guidelines. Many will get their first in-person visits from loved ones in months and will be able to get back to beloved activities such as Bingo.
Outdoor visits are encouraged, and indoor visits are now allowed as well, depending on the number of COVID cases in a facility and other factors. Group activities can resume with proper masking and social distancing.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is easing restrictions on long-term care facilities as residents are vaccinated and COVID infection rates decline.
(Read the specific guidelines here.)
"The one big distinction is that if a resident has been vaccinated and they choose to, they can actually touch their loved one, which really is a huge change," points out Marjorie Moore, Executive Director of VOYCE, an advocacy group for nursing home residents based in St. Louis.
Moore adds that masks, social distancing and hand hygiene will still be essential in many other situations to keep fragile populations safe. She says facilities will still need to schedule visits to keep the number of people on site at any one time limited.
VOYCE is hosting a virtual Celebration for Compassion and Care this week to recognize quality caregiving.