New COVID-19 policy takes into effect, bans visitors in all Arkansas nursing homes

Coronavirus

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — New requirements are in effect amidst the coronavirus outbreak but perhaps none bigger than this – nursing homes are no longer allowing visitors unless medically necessary or for a few selected reasons.

The American Health Care Association echoed in the footsteps of the Arkansas Department of Health by releasing this statement:

Due to the vulnerability of residents in long-term care facilities, it is of utmost importance to limit possible exposure to COVID-19. A long-term care facility is defined by section 20-10- 101(10) of the Arkansas Code and includes nursing homes, residential care facilities, assisted living facilities, post-acute head injury retraining and residential care facilities, and any other facility that provides long-term medical or personal care. Effective immediately, the Arkansas Department of Health directs all long-term care facilities to prohibit all visitation for thirty (30) days unless medically necessary or by law enforcement or other emergency personnel, a representative from the Arkansas Department of Health, a representative from the Arkansas Department of Human Services Office of Long-term Care, or a representative from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This prohibition shall begin on March 13, 2020, and end on April 12, 2020. Visitation may resume on April 13, 2020, unless extended by a separate directive from the Arkansas Department of Health.

All visitation that is allowed by this directive is subject to the screening requirements below unless otherwise provided in a separate directive from the Arkansas Department of Health. Medically necessary visits include visitation related to medical treatment and visitation appropriate for a resident’s end of life care

While visitation is prohibited, all long-term care facilities shall offer alternative means of communication for people who would otherwise visit, including through virtual communication such as phone and video communication. Other visitation required by 42 CFR § 483.10(f)(4)(i) that is not provided for above shall be by alternative means of communication in lieu of in person visitation.

Official Statement, Arkansas Department of Health

Currently, also nursing homes have been briefed and family members are encouraged to contact their loved ones by alternative means.

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