Local nursing homes prepare to open doors to visitors

People will be allowed to visit many Region 8 nursing homes Wednesday.

Local nursing homes prepares to open doors to visitors

JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Nursing home visits can begin Wednesday, July 1, but with many restrictions in place as coronavirus cases continue to rise.

Many nursing homes across Region 8 are being cautious expanding visitation and other activities.

At St. Bernards Villa, the emphasis is on ensuring the safety of the residents.

A spokesperson said Wednesday they will expand what they’ve already been doing: testing and screening all residents and staff in addition to cleaning and sanitizing all areas.

Even though they will be allowing visitors, there will be many restrictions, including scheduling the visit beforehand, undergoing a screening, wearing a mask, and allowing just one visitor at a time.

Community Director Ronnie Sairls said the reaction has been 50/50 among residents. On one hand, the threat of the virus still looms, but some family members haven’t been able to see their loved ones in months.

“Even though you’re going to be six-feet-plus away wearing a mask, it’s just the closeness other than visiting through the window that makes a huge difference in our population,” Sairls said.

The facility will allow visits by location, including the patio, lobby, or chapel by appointment only.

He says one of the biggest things they are trying to avoid is people showing up all at once to visit their loved ones.

While he says the situation is fluid and that anything can change, he is excited to welcome the families.

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