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The Alice Center Begins Work on Resident Visitation Plan

New York State health officials announced on Friday that nursing homes which meet strict criteria could begin hosting limited visitation soon, but a recent positive COVID test at The Alice Center means the facility’s Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) must wait until next month before visitation can resume. The Alice Center’s Assisted Living Program (ALP), which is housed in the same building but separate from the SNF, could be eligible for limited visitation earlier.

A positive COVID-19 test on July 8 means The Alice Center is not eligible to begin hosting limited visitation until Aug. 5 at the earliest, said Susan Biondolillo, Alice Hyde’s Associate Vice President of Long Term Care. One of the state requirements for restarting visitation is that nursing homes be free of any new COVID-positive tests among staff or residents for at least 28 days.

“We know that the families and loved ones of our residents are anxious to see them in person after being unable to visit for such a long time,” said Biondolillo. “Friday’s announcement brings us that much closer to enabling families to see their loved ones, and we are working hard have a plan and protocols in place to ensure we can safely resume visits when we meet the state’s criteria.”

Biondolillo said that while the 28-day countdown continues the facility would be working on a visitation plan to submit to state health officials for approval. The DOH-issued guidance on Friday requires all facilities to have a state-approved formal visitation plan before welcoming visitors. Other restrictions include limits on the total number of visitors in a facility at one time, the number of visitors any one resident may have, as well as requirements for staffing, Personal Protective Equipment, and education of visitors on hand and respiratory hygiene.

Matt Jones, Alice Hyde’s Chief Operating Officer, called the state requirements associated with nursing home visitation critical guidelines to ensure the health and safety of residents at The Alice Center’s SNF and ALP

“There is no greater priority for us than the health and safety of our residents and employees,” said Jones. “That commitment to safety continues to guide every decision we make and every policy we put into place, and this is no different. Reuniting families and loved ones is a critical piece of health care during the COVID crisis, and like every step we’ve taken during our re-opening, we’ll create and implement this plan cautiously and deliberately.”

In mid-March state health officials suspended nursing home visitation amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to the restrictions, Alice Hyde instituted a tele-visitation program allowing residents to connect with their loved ones via video meetings on smart phones, tablets and computers.