Nursing homes reopen to visitors June 15 following new guidelines

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Gov. Bill Lee announces 410 new jobs at a Memphis facility on Friday. as Shelby Cunty Mayor Lee Harris looks on.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Governor Bill Lee said nursing homes will reopen to visitors on June 15, following a new set of guidelines.

The governor said that long-term facilities will start to have limited visitation options so they can continue to keep residents safe from COVID-19.

From my own family experience, I know how heartbreakingly difficult and stressful it is to not see loved ones for weeks at a time. Our family members, friends, and neighbors in long-term care are our most vulnerable Tennesseans. Even limited visitation options will bring relief and support for residents and visitors alike, as long as we can ensure everyone’s well-being.

Governor Bill Lee

Facilities that choose to reopen to visitors must meet the following prerequisites:

  • Testing of all staff and residents at least once, and compliance with applicable regulations regarding weekly staff re-testing;
  • No new COVID-19 case in residents or staff members in the previous 28 days;
  • Compliant with Board for Licensing Health Care Facilities regulations and infection control guidelines;
  • Overall stability of the disease burden present in the community where the facility is located.

Should a facility meet those prerequisites, they must follow the guidelines below.

  • Making appointments prior to visiting and limiting the duration of visits;
  • Limiting the number of visitors per resident and daily visitors per facility;
  • Enforcing visitor social distancing and mask requirements; and,
  • Screening all visitors with symptom and temperature checks immediately upon facility entry.

The following options should be utilized for long-term facilities providing visitation:

  • In an outdoor setting, weather permitting; 
  • Using a visitation booth or protective barrier; and,
  • A resident’s room if the visitor documents a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours prior to the visit.   

Lee said separate guidelines for visitors with disabilities or critical care will remain in effect.

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