Following several changes in visitor guidelines from Governor Tom Wolf’s administration, nursing homes and long term care facilities are now allowing friends and families inside the building for the first time in over a year.
“Our recommendation is for across the commonwealth. The federal guidance has the right protections in place where they do highlight where they might be additional precautions one should take before actually facilitating a visitation,” said Acting Secretary of Health, Alison Beam.
Arbutus Park in Cambria County listened to these guidelines and is now making it possible for loved ones to be reunited.
“They’re allowed to family members at a time to visit in their rooms upstairs. If it’s a larger group coming in, they need to schedule a visit either down here in our chatterbox, in the chapel or in the private dining room for larger visits,” said Arbutus Park’s activities director, Melinda Frye.
But these changes still come with precautions in place. Every visitor, whether vaccinated or not, must wear a mask, get screened at the front desk and follow social distancing guidance.
“People need to understand too that just because they’re vaccinated doesn’t make them a super person. They still have to be careful. They still have to do the social distancing, the face masks,” said Frye.
Even with people wearing masks, you can tell these changes have put a smile on everyone’s faces.
“At the worst of the pandemic, they were in their rooms with doors shut and the only people they would see was staff coming in and out,” said Frye. “As you can imagine, step by step, we’ve opened the doors, then we were allowed to do small group activities and then get into the dinning room. We are still being very cautious. There are still social distancing and wearing masks. But they are just so happy to be out, you can see it in their faces,” she added.
To learn more about the new guidelines, visit the DOH’s website.