OSDH

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) has released revised guidance to support long-term care facilities’ efforts to balance the need to protect residents from COVID-19 and ensure healthy social and emotional connections with family and friends during the ongoing pandemic.

Guidance for a phased reopening approach in long-term care facilities, that first took effect on July 15, 2020, set forth a cautious and measured process that they can use to determine the most appropriate visitation policy to protect their residents and staff.

This revised guidance helps clarify variations between phases two and three for visitation and communal activities that further helps balance COVID-19 safety and visitation restrictions with the well-being of residents as an urgent priority to limit unintended harms of social isolation.

Guidance from CMS’ Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Nursing Home Visitation supports and promotes creative and flexible options for providers when balancing resident health and safety needs versus social isolation.

Oklahoma’s plan for long-term care facilities was developed by the Oklahoma State Department of Health, members of the National Guard and university partners with input from long-term care providers with oversight and approval by Gov. Kevin Stitt and the COVID-19 Task Force.

“We are appreciative of the partnerships with our long-term care facilities in developing thoughtful plans to protect our most vulnerable. This phased reopening guidance is intended to help guide a very careful, organized, and safe reopening,” said Health Commissioner Lance Frye, MD.

Oklahoma’s reopening plan for long-term care facilities offers recommendations for the spectrum of long-term care providers, which includes residential care and assisted living facilities, adult day care, nursing and skill nursing facilities, and intermediate care facilities for individuals with developmental or intellectual disabilities.

The plan provides a phased approach for nursing facilities that may be used as a template for other long-term care providers while they incorporate CDC and CMS guidance for their unique communities.

The full guidance is currently available on coronavirus.health.ok.gov in the Resources & Recommendations section.

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