WASHINGTON, D.C. (WKRN) – The Department of Veterans Affairs is putting new safeguards in place to protect nursing home residents and spinal-cord injury patients as the new coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread. According to VA officials, these are two of its most susceptible patient populations.
No outside visitors will be allowed to see residents at any VA nursing home, except in ‘compassionate cases’ like veterans in hospice units. Officials said in that instance, visitors will only be limited to a specific veteran’s room. The same policy will apply to the VA’s 24 major spinal cord injury and disorder centers.
The VA is also suspending new admissions to its nursing homes. However, resident transfers will be allowed from VA facilities as long as medical personnel has cleared the patient from the risk of infection of transmission of COVID-19. According to officials, all VA SCI/Ds will avoid inpatient admissions for routine matters, which will now be done on an outpatient basis.
“While the COVID-19 risk to average Americans remains low, these commonsense measures will help protect some of our most vulnerable patients,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie in a statement. “VA will make every effort to minimize the impact of these policies on Veterans while putting patient safety first.”
Staff members working at VA nursing homes and SCI/D centers will also be screened every day.
Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.