EDGEWOOD, Ky. — Starting Saturday, nearly a year after the COVID-19 pandemic began, some of Kentucky’s long-term care facilities will be allowed to welcome visitors for residents who have been fully vaccinated.
Kentucky will allow indoor visits at non-Medicare certified long-term care facilities, including assisted living, personal care, intermediate care for individuals with intellectual disabilities, and independent living. Group activities, communal dining and visits with other residents can also resume Saturday.
The state will require visitors to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the scheduled visit, and visits are limited to two people from the same household.
But these new rules do not apply to Medicare certified long-term care facilities. Kentucky still needs the go-ahead from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) before it can relax restrictions on visits at certified facilities.
Charter Senior Living of Edgewood, a non-Medicare facility, cares for dozens of residents in three separate environments. Executive Director Janet Moxley said Thursday’s news comes as a relief for seniors living there who haven’t seen their families in person for an extended period.
“It’s been a long time, so I think it’s going to be extremely meaningful, not only to our residents but to our families themselves,” she said.
While visits have been restricted, Moxley said their facility has offered internal therapy to keep isolated seniors both mentally and physically healthy.
“Obviously, when you’re in a quarantine mode you’re not moving as much, and you have that possibility of declining,” she said.
Charter has also been scheduling biweekly FaceTime and Zoom calls to keep residents in contact with family -- though Moxley said nothing can replace a visit from a loved one.
“It’s just not the same as that human contact. It’s just not,” Moxley said.
Charter has been making arrangements to prepare for the day visitors are allowed back. Roughly 90% of their residents have received both doses of COVID-19 vaccine, with a handful slated to get their second shot next week.
“We’ve kind of been gearing up in hopes of kind of getting back to that new normal and turning that corner for our families,” said Charter marketing director Jennifer Walker.
Now, they’re fine-tuning their plan to roll it out this weekend.
“The sooner they get back to seeing them, the better, so we’ll make it happen,” Walker said.