MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - It’s been two weeks since Gov. Kay Ivey updated the “safer at home” order to allow in-person visitation at nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic as long as certain guidelines are met.
Now, nursing homes across the state are slowly beginning to adjust to the new rules.
Capitol Hill Healthcare in Montgomery suspended visitations in March to protect their residents from the virus. This week they opened their courtyard for outdoor visitation. Indoor visits are still prohibited.
“We are thrilled to just see the joy on the resident’s faces and we know it brings a sense of relief to the families to get to spend some in-person time with their loved ones,” said Shannon Randolph, director of Admissions at Capitol Hill. “So it means everything to us and hopefully to all involved.”
Visitors were excited to speak to their family members in-person for the first time in months.
“I’m here to visit my mom,” said Richard Willingham. “I haven’t seen her for almost two months now. She is my mom so she’s rather special, and to be as close as I can to her will be great.”
Willingham’s mother, Robbie Gibson, said the visit with her son meant a lot to her.
“It has been the most marvelous feeling in the world to know that I was going to get to see my firstborn today,” Gibson said. “I appreciate them so much for allowing me to do this.”
These visits still looked a lot different for families. Capitol Hill allows two residents to be seen at a time and each resident is allowed two visitors. Visitors must get a health screening before entry and that includes a temperature check.
Guests and the residents are required to wear a mask and keep a social distance of 10 feet. Visits are also limited to 15 minutes. Visitors must call and schedule an appointment 24 hours in advance to reserve a time.
Due to each resident’s specific medical needs, not all will be eligible for modified visitation.
Each nursing home has its own specific rules in place. Check with your respective facility before visiting.
For more information on Capitol Hill’s guidelines, you can visit its website.