TRENTON, NJ — Children and adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities who reside in long-term care facilities in New Jersey are now permitted indoors visits with loved ones — but by appointment only.
Gov. Phil Murphy and state Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli announced during the state's July 15 press briefing that parents, a family member, legal guardians and support persons can arrange for indoor visits to these facilities under a thorough set of guidelines (see below).
“Any resident in a congregate setting, as you know is a very high risk for COVID-19, and great vigilance must be taken to protect these vulnerable individuals,” said Persichilli. “Yes, we do understand how stressful and heartbreaking it has been for so many families ... reuniting families, particularly in pediatric long-term care facilities, is a critical step for the mental, physical, social and emotional well-being of these children. But we need to be vigilant given how medically fragile the pediatric population that resides in long-term care facilities are.“
Several hundred children and adolescents currently reside in four pediatric long-term care facilities in New Jersey, while some 500 adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities live in congregate facilities throughout the state.
Outdoor visits at long-term care facilities were given the OK back in June on Father’s Day.
Under the new directive, indoor visitation would only be permitted at facilities that no new probable or confirmed coronavirus cases recorded across a 28-day period.
Hours and days will be set for visits, wearing face marks and maintaining social distancing will be required.
Persichilli outlined some measures the state plans to put into place:
- Visitors must be screened for symptoms, which includes temperature checks and potential exposure to COVID-19.
- A designated area should be established for visitors to be screened that maintains social distancing and infection control standards.
- If an individual has any COVID-19 symptoms, or any possible exposure, they will not be permitted to visit the resident.
- When staff is transporting the resident to a designated visitation area, a safe distance of six feet must be maintained between other residents and staff.
- Facilities must designate a specific area for visitation in order to limit the visitors' movement around the facility.
- All visitors will be required to wear a mask, be educated on proper hand-hygiene, and practice social distancing with anyone other than their loved one.
- Facilities are required to obtain informed consent from residents and visitors. Those giving consent must acknowledge that they are aware of the potential dangers of COVID-19 exposure and will comply with the facility's policies during the visit.
- As part of the consent form, visitors must agree to notify the facility if they tested positive for the virus or have symptoms within 14 days of visiting the long-term care facility.
Click here for the entire directive detailing the guidelines.
Below is the video from Gov. Murphy's July 15 press briefing:
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