Outdoor, open-window visits now allowed at Missouri nursing homes

Facilities must be free of any COVID diagnosis for 28 days before allowing visits.

Megan Lynch
June 16, 2020 - 11:48 am

ST. LOUIS, MO (KMOX) - You may be able to see grandma and grandpa face-to-face soon, if they live in a nursing home.  Missouri officials have eased visiting rules at care facilities.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services says long-term care facilities can now allow outdoor and open window visits for residents and their loved ones.  However, facilities cannot start those visits until they've gone 28 days without a COVID diagnosis for either a resident or employee. 

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"That's the most important one and that's going to keep a lot of facilities from starting these visits right away," says Marjorie Moore, Executive Director, of the advocacy group VOYCE.  "We want our residents to be able to see their families and that morale boost is just everything to people, but at the same time we don't want COVID flaring back up through these facilities again."

In St. Louis County alone, Moore says there have been 300 deaths of nursing care residents due to the pandemic.

She suggests families have one person coordinate visits with the home, so administrators aren't overwhelmed.  Outdoor and open-window visits will be restricted to two people at a time. 

And Moore points out, the state is giving nursing homes the final say on whether they even offer these this time.

When visits are allowed, she says it may be shocking to see some deterioration in a loved one after weeks in isolation.  Moore adds if families believe those changes are more dramatic than they should be, they may want to seek advice and assistance from VOYCE's ombudsman program.

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