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Long-Term Care

Long-Term Care Resident Information: If you are having problems getting COVID-19 information about your loved one in a nursing or residential care facility, please email us your concerns here.

The virus that causes novel coronavirus (COVID-19) can cause outbreaks in nursing homes. Many of our residents are older adults and may have medical conditions putting them at a very high risk of becoming sick, or even severely ill, with COVID-19. Visitors and healthcare personnel (HCP) are the most likely sources of introduction of the virus that causes COVID-19 into a facility.

The Indiana State Department of Health follows guidance from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which includes restricting all visitation, except for certain compassionate care reasons, such as end-of-life. Due to the high risk of spread once COVID-19 enters a facility, we must continue these protections.

We would like to work together with you to protect our vulnerable Hoosiers. Below are some ideas on how residents and their families can keep in touch:

  • TECHNOLOGY (such as Skype and FaceTime) for more frequent video chats, emails, text messages, and phone calls.
  • CARDS AND LETTERS with messages of support and updates on family members.
  • RECORDED VIDEO MESSAGES to share via email or text message, if live-video chatting is not feasible.
  • “VISITS” through a glass window or a parade of cars.
  • VISUALS TO EXPRESS CARE. For example, ribbons around trees or benches, planting flowers outside, or outdoor posters and banners to show support.
  • CARE PACKAGES that could include items such as photographs, cards, drawings, snacks, and entertainment (such as books, magazines, and puzzles).
  • DEDICATIONS on the in-house cable channel and intercom system.

Long-term Care Facility Visitation FAQ

What kind of visitation is being allowed?  
Outdoor visitation is now required in facilities without a new facility-onset COVID-19 case within the last 14 days, if certain facility and community conditions exist and as weather permits. 
 
What types of facilities are covered by the outdoor visitation guidance?  
The guidance pertains to all long-term care facilities licensed by ISDH – nursing homes and residential care facilities, or licensed assisted living.   
 
Will there be scheduled hours for the outdoor visitation? 
Yes, but the facility will set those hours and the schedule may change. For example, if the facility determines that weather is unsuitable, a resident cannot be safely moved outdoors, or if the facility cannot comply with our guidance requirements, visitation may be canceled or unavailable. The guidance also makes clear that facilities “may establish additional guidelines as needed to ensure the safety of visitations and their facility’s operations.”  
 
Must I wear a mask for these visits, even though they are outdoors with social distancing?
Yes, a face covering or mask must be worn during the entire visitation. The guidance discusses other visitor requirements, and the facility may require other reasonable precautions to protect the residents. 
 
Is the visitation open for all ages?  
Yes, if infection prevention measures are followed.  Children under 2 are not required to wear a mask per CDC guidance.  

Can I bring food? 
Yes, you can bring food for someone, but you cannot share food with the resident (e.g., you cannot both eat from the same bag of chips). Also, if the resident has a dietary restriction (e.g., can only have soft foods or cannot eat certain types of food) then the food must meet these restrictions. If you are unsure if your loved one has food restrictions contact the facility ahead of time to learn what is allowed.   
 
Is there any other visitation allowed now? 
Yes, there is an exception for visitors for compassionate care situations, such as end of life. 
These exceptions are made case by case and should weigh the risk of viral transmission with the need for compassionate end-of-life care. More details on family visitation for end-of-life situations can be found here

Indoor visits may resume as of July 4, if certain facility and community conditions exist.  More details on indoor visitation can be found, https://www.coronavirus.in.gov/files/IN_COVID-19%20Back%20On%20Track%20Guidelines%206.29.20.pdf
 
What if I am wrongly denied visitation with my loved one? 
If you believe you have been wrongly denied visitation, or you have questions that aren’t answered by these FAQs or the guidance, you may email us at familyoutreach@isdh.in.gov or leave a voice message at (317) 233-7176 (effective June 9). This email address and phone line are dedicated to concerns about COVID-19 information, communication, and visitation with loved ones in long term care facilities. For other concerns or complaints, please contact our Complaints Program at (317) 233-7241 or complaints@isdh.in.gov

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This site was last updated 9/18/2020 8:15 AM