CROSSETT, Ark. (06/18/20) — Nursing homes and other types of care facilities in Arkansas can become eligible to allow its visitors to see their loved ones next month.
According to the Arkansas Department of Health, there are facility-specific requirements that must be met before that can happen including testing among all residents and staff members and there must be enough hospital and ICU beds available at hospitals near the facility among other requirements.
Facilities across the state were ordered to shut its doors to visitors in mid-March. The separation has been difficult for families and their loved ones.
“They’re confined to their rooms basically right now,” Judy Wilkerson said.
Wilkerson’s 98-year-old mother is in the facility at Stonegate Villa Health & Rehabilitation in Crossett. Wilkerson has been able to Facetime her mom with help from the nurses and she’s also been able to visit with her mom from her bedroom window.
When she watched Governor Asa Hutchinson announce the possible reopening, she had mixed emotions along with Janis Gilliam whose two cousins also reside at Stonegate Villa.
“I was kind of nervous about the reopening and then on the other hand I was kind of excited because I do want to see them,” Gilliam said.
Stonegate Villa’s administrator, Marlene Hensley, said the team is looking forward to providing residents and family members the opportunity to visit though many requirements must be met before a starting a date can be announced.
So far, no residents or staff members have tested positive for the coronavirus and Hensley hopes to keep it that way.
As the facility prepares to test everyone in-house, Wilkerson is hoping to find a mask where her deaf mother will be able to read her lips.
“I’m so excited to be able to get into the room with my mother and visit with her and not through a window,” Wilkerson said.
Although she and Gilliam are both ready to see their loved ones, they are content if Stonegate decides not to allow visitations. The each have taken every precaution individually to keep themselves safe and hope other family members are taking this virus just as serious.
The Silver Oaks nursing home in Camden has a portable cubicle for its residents to sit in and have face to face interactions with visitors.
According to the Camden News, the visitation station was created and donated from Camden Glass and Overhead Door. The portable cubicle features three sides of plexiglass with an unobstructed back for patients to enter through.
Stonegate has a few options it’s considering but wants to keep the residents safety a top priority.