State to lift ban on nursing home visits

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NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz released an emergency order on Sept. 1 that carried out Gov. Ron DeSantis’ decision to lift a five-plus month ban on visitors at nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Mary Mayhew, who chaired a task force that came up with recommendations about lifting the ban, said her agency and others, including the Agency for Persons with Disabilities and the Department of Children and Families, would have to issue emergency rules to move forward with the emergency order.

DeSantis held a news conference in Jacksonville on Sept. 1 announcing that his administration would lift the visitation ban, which was imposed in March to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Restriction on visitors

The emergency order tracks recommendations that the Mayhew-led Task Force on the Safe and Limited Re-Opening of LongTerm Care Facilities released last month.

The recommendations included allowing every long term-care resident to designate two “essential” caregivers and two “compassionate” caregivers who would have access to the residents.

The order allows facilities to restrict visitation by essential and compassionate caregivers to one person at a time – with the exception of people with developmental disabilities, who are authorized to have two visitors at a time. The order also applies to long-term care facilities that serve people with developmental disabilities.

In terms of general visitation, residents will be allowed to designate up to five general visitors, though no more than two will be allowed to visit at a time. General visitors will be required to maintain a distance of six feet from staff members and residents.

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