Nursing Homes Plan Road Towards Visitation

June 22, 2020, 6:30 p.m. ·


Today Nebraska moves into phase 3 of reopening. That phase allows nursing homes who have met certain conditions to allow visitors into their facilities.

But those conditions will take time to meet. Maple Crest Health Center in Omaha is following guidelines from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The guidelines set out three phases. Phase one requires a facility to have zero COVID-19 cases. Phase two allows for more group activities within the facility. And phase 3 allows for outside visitors.

Maple Crest is currently in phase 2, and if everything goes well they hope to move into phase 3 on July 1 st.

Joe Burt is nurses liaison at Maple Crest. He said the eventual visits will be scheduled and held in designated areas.

“We’re building a gazebo outside to add another area to visit," Burt said. "We’re actually turning some resident rooms into what we’re calling resident visitation areas so the rooms can be disinfected in between each use. So we’re getting creative with it, but we’re also being very precautious with it before we move into phase three.”

Maple Crest is working on testing its entire staff, one of the state's conditions for allowing visitors again. They said residents and families are excited to see each other, but also very aware of the risks.

“We want people to be able to see their loved ones," Burt said. "I know this has been torture for family members and for our residents and there’s nothing I want more than everyone to come back together and rekindle those relationships with that some of them haven’t been able to see for three or four months, but at the same time we have to protect everybody. We have to protect every single resident within our walls from this virus because we’ve seen in our own community in our state and in our country what it can do.”

Burt reminded people to wear masks and not go out in public if they feel sick.