State to allow outdoor visits at nursing homes


ALLENDALE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Families who have loved ones in residential care facilities have only been able to see them through a window.

But as the state eases its coronavirus restrictions, they’ll soon be able to hug them in person.

“We’re praying for that day to come soon,” said David Trevino, whose parents live at the Allendale Nursing and Rehabilitation Community. “It’s been a long time.”

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued an order Thursday, allowing residents, like Trevino’s parents, to visit with their loved ones outdoors.

“I get a little bit emotional now just talking about it,” said Trevino. “That opportunity to just touch their hands and really tell them how much we miss them, and we love them, that’s going to be huge.”

The order requires visitors to schedule an appointment to meet their loved ones in “homes for the aged, adult foster care facilities, hospice facilities, substance abuse disorder residential facilities, independent living facilities and assisted living facilities.”

It only allows up to two people to visit and mandates each person to wear a face mask and practice social distancing during their visit.

“I’m looking forward to calling them and getting it set up,” said Trevino. “Their smiles are going to be bigger than the sun.”

The order gives local health departments the authority to stop visitation if necessary and requires nursing homes to stop visitation if they report a coronavirus case 14 days before visitation. All are rules Trevino said are put in place to keep his parents and other residents living in harmony.

“It’s going to be wonderful,” said Trevino.

Although the order permits outdoor visits, it doesn’t require facilities to allow them. A spokesperson for MDHHS said the department will consider changes to visitation rules once the order takes effect Tuesday.

More information on this order can be found online.

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