Indoor visitation begins at Ohio nursing homes

Indoor visitation begins at Ohio nursing homes

GREENVILLE — Indoor visitation was allowed to restart at Ohio nursing homes Monday for the first time in nearly seven months with strict rules in place.

This was a day many families across Ohio had been waiting for since March, when nursing homes shut down to indoor visitation amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s a similar feeling for many staff members at Ohio nursing homes.

Content Continues Below

“It’s so exciting to be able to see the families come back in and be able to visit their loved ones,” said Debbie Baker of Greenville Health & Rehabilitation.

The facility was among the Miami Valley’s hardest hit by COVID-19 earlier this year: 75 staff and patients were infected with the virus, with 17 deaths.

“It was trying. But it really displayed to us how much of a family we truly are here,” Baker said.

Greenville Health & Rehabilitation, as required by Ohio’s newest health order on nursing homes, will have a special room set aside for short visits between a small number of family members.

In addition to screening visitors for coronavirus symptoms, the facility has rapid COVID-19 tests available for use as needed; an important tool with homes opening to indoor visits even as Ohio sees a spike in cases.

But this change in protocol is one Baker said both the residents and their families have been anxious for.

“It’s been very difficult and window visits, you know, they help, but (it’s) just not the same,” she said.  “We’re so appreciative of everything they’ve been through and been able to deal with and they’ve been very resilient.”

Ultimately, the decision to go to indoor visitation will be up to each individual facility. At Greenville Health & Rehabilitation, for instance, it begins Thursday.