Michigan Attorneys Providing Excellence in Estate Planning and Elder Care

COVID and Nursing Homes: New Order Allows Visitation

One of the most troubling side effects of the pandemic has been its impact on seniors. Not only are the elderly more at risk for this disease, they are also more at-risk for feeling the burden of isolation. If you have a family member in a nursing home or assisted living facility, you know firsthand how the pandemic has been difficult for our aging loved ones.

With strict safety and visitation restrictions in place, for many seniors, it has been months since they have spent time with someone they love. In somewhat rare good news, these restrictions have now been somewhat lifted.

COVID and Nursing Homes: New Facility Visitation Rules

Recently, The Michigan Department of Health & Human Services entered a new residential care order addressing visitation for long-term care facilities. This new order is somewhat complicated but is a relief for many local families and their elderly loved ones. Instead of a blanket, “no visitation” rule, it allows for various exceptions and guidelines that make visiting your loved one possible.

  • Indoor visits are allowed for all residents in areas of the state that are at risk level A-D (but not E) with a number of restrictions and limitations.
    • For example, if the facility has had a new COVID case in the last 14 days with staff or residents, visitation will be restricted. Visitation is only by appointment, no more than two people at a time, and only if the visitors are screened and wear a face covering.
  • Independent living facilities are no longer included in the restrictions.
  • If facilities deny visitation in compassionate care situations, they must give written notice explaining the denial to the visitor, MDHHS, and the ombudsman program.
  • Outdoor visits (with physical distancing and other restrictions) have been permitted since September. Window visits through a closed window are also permitted.

The order includes some additional categories of people who are not subject to the visitation requirement, including social workers from outside the facility and providers of religious or spiritual services. The order also includes some other humanitarian measures including, for the first time, allowing physical contact between residents and visitors in end-of-life situations and clarifying that some group activities and communal dining will be allowed.

Does Your Loved One Need Long-Term Care?

If your loved one is in need of long-term care, but you have been hesitant to place them because of the virus visitation restrictions, these new orders should help lighten some of that concern. We understand the rising cost of care is another concern in and of itself. We may not be able to help relieve the stress of the virus, but we can help you and your family with affording the stay in a nursing home. Contact our office to learn more.


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