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In-person visiting resumes at nursing homes

Published: Mar. 10, 2021 at 6:04 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Longterm care facilities, such as nursing homes, have been heavily impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic, and one year ago the Good Samaritan Society shut their doors to visitors.

One year later, families are finally being able to have indoor visitations with their loved ones again.

The Good Samaritan Society, and other nursing homes, follow Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and CDC guidelines when determining the visitation regulations.

Jeff Nelson used to visit his dad, 93-year-old Don, twice a week at Luther Manor in Sioux Falls, until the pandemic hit.

“It was tough, we would try and converse on the phone but that’s not always the same. We’d do window visits,” Nelson said.

It was a long year apart for the Nelsons, but things changed in 2021.

“In reality, since they opened up again, I think I’m here more often now than I was at that point and time just because of the importance of being here,” Nelson added.

The facility restarted indoor visits in February, but nursing homes must reach certain criteria to allow screened visitors back in.

“We have to have a positivity rate of less than 10%. We also need to make sure we do not have any positive cases in our facility for the last 14 days,” said Good Samaritan Society Executive Director Philip Samuelson.

Longterm care residents were among the first groups to be eligible for the COVID vaccine, and more vaccinated residents meant fewer COVID cases opening the doors for visitors.

“I think there’s a little extra bounce in everyone’s steps that ‘we’re getting there,’” Samuelson said.

“It’s an emotional thing, and I think also a mental health thing for both he and I to be able to have that conversation and be close,” Nelson said.

If you have a loved one in a long-term care facility, the Good Samaritan Society suggests contacting their facility because each one has different rules and regulations for visitors.

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