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03/13/2020

Today's COVID-19 Report: FAQ Document Available, ODH Issues New Guidance

Today's COVID-19 Report:

FAQ Document Available, ODH Issues New Guidance

Q&A Document on COVID-19 Hot Topics for Members

LeadingAge Ohio has developed a Q&A document for members to use that includes the most-frequent inquiries we are receiving. That document is available now, and will be updated in future weeks as we continue to track questions and monitor the progress of the situation. 

ODH Clarifies Language Regarding Hospice Workers

As Ohio nursing homes and assisted living restrict visitation around the state, many are barring hospice workers from entering their facilities. While we understand the need to restrict visitation, hospice workers are licensed health care providers who should be given access to the facility after screening and a temperature check. 

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) clarified this message in last night's memo:

"While the Department understands that preventing the spread of COVID-19 is important, please make sure that the health care needs of your residents are being met and that contracted health care providers are being given access to the facility if eligible after screening, particularly hospice providers."

State Guidance on Visitation - Use Existing Executive Order

Yesterday Governor DeWine spoke in his press conference stating that Ohio nursing facilities and assisted living should expect greater restrictions on visitation. LeadingAge Ohio has recommended that further restriction be left to the discretion of providers.

In conversations with state officials this morning, providers should continue to reference the existing executive order which includes a limit of one visit per day per resident, along with visitor health screenings and a log of all visitors. If an organization chooses to institute a full ban on visitation, the organization should remember the residents rights statute on visitation remains in effect. 

The executive order signed on Wednesday remains in effect, stating:

"Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton, M.D., MPH, has ordered that all long-term care facilities restrict visitation to one visitor per resident per day, to keep a log of all visitors, and to assess visitors for COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, or shortness of breath) and other risk factors, denying entry to those who exhibit them."

This was also included in last night's guidance from ODH. We are continuing to communicate with ODH and the Governor's office on this issue. 

LeadingAge Ohio Encourages Legal Review of Independent Living Setting Restrictions

As nursing facilities continue to restrict access in response to COVID-19 and state and federal guidance, LeadingAge Ohio is asking providers to be vigilant in monitoring their independent living residents. Independent living is not under the same visitation restrictions as nursing facilities or assisted living, but the individuals living in independent living may be at risk for complications from COVID-19 based on age, condition, etc. It may be permissible for providers to ban visitors to independent living, but this position should be reviewed by legal counsel. 

It is important to speak to your independent living residents in regards to visitation safety and precautions. Providers should monitor and provide a health screening to all independent living residents who enter into buildings that contain nursing facilities or assisted living, or serve as communal spaces for older adults. This includes visits to dining halls, gyms, recreation rooms, and more. 

We will continue to monitor for guidance on independent living settings as it pertains to COVID-19.

Questions

Please send all questions to COVID19@leadingageohio.org.

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Our national partner, LeadingAge, is an association of 6,000 not-for-profit organizations dedicated to expanding the world of possibilities for aging. Together, we advance policies, promote practices and conduct research that support, enable and empower people to live fully as they age.