CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - A lot of Ohioans have gone almost a year without seeing their loved ones at long- term care facilities, and according to state data, it could continue for longer.
After vaccinating the majority of long-term residents, some Ohio facilities still are not able to accept visitors because of guidelines.
“We always knew that there would be some criteria that we would have to meet and there would be some restrictions,” said Dawn Horvat, regional director of Meridian Senior Living.
According to the state dashboard, only a little more than half of the long-term care facilities in Ohio allow indoor visitors, leaving more than 10% of places, like Brooklyn Pointe, owned by Meridian, with their doors closed.
In order to have visitors, a facility must have no new cases in 14 days, not currently be conducting outbreak testing, and the county positivity rate at less than 10%.
According to the dashboard, Cuyahoga, Lake, and Medina counties are all shaded red with positivity rates above 10%, forcing Brooklyn Pointe to get creative when it comes to visitation.
“Since the weather has not been cooperating with us, we have been able to do some indoor visits with limitations, the gloves and the masks, and the gowns,” said Horvat. “And we’ve always been able to do compassionate care visits.”
Compassionate care visits are the one exception to the restrictions. These are visits for end-of-life care, or if a resident is having a hard time adjusting to nursing home life.
“If you have a loved one in need of a compassionate care visit, and that loved one is not getting that visit and you’re being stopped from visiting you have rights,” said Gov. Mike DeWine. “You’re empowered to get that visit scheduled.”
“We’re hopeful that as people in the community become vaccinated, that the rate is going to drop and that we’ll be able to open up real soon,” said Horvat.