Although the COVID-19 pandemic seems to be waning now that many people are vaccinated, visitation at many centers can still be limited/restricted. Many of us work full time and have aging parents who get sick and require hospitalization and/or rehabilitation services. Sure, we can do more than window visits now but sometimes the window visit is more pleasurable than having to make an “appointment” and only being allowed an hour visit. My experience is shared by many, we all understand the magnitude and loss from COVID-19 and have become weary but if we still need to keep our residents safe by limiting visitation based on positivity rates in the community, how can we do it better?
What if we decided to soften the blow of these restrictions and share some customer service with our families who visit? Face it, it isn’t always easy to schedule visits ahead of time when you are used to popping in to surprise mom with a sausage biscuit and hot cup of joe early in the morning, right? So, here’s the deal, life as we know it right now:
- Families must call ahead and be put on the list for visitation if their county positivity rates are high
- There are limits to how many visitors can be in the building at any given time, limiting the available time slots
- Visitation hours are restricted, many times from 10:00-5:00, making it even more difficult for working people with few exceptions
Recognizing restrictions may be necessary, it continues to amaze me that not one center I visited in the past 6 months has seized the moment. Think about it, it’s like having fish in a barrel, right? You know who is coming and when, and yet we don’t show our gratitude! What if the nurse manager, DON, Administrator, or someone else who knows the resident pops into the room during the scheduled visit to update the family? Oh, and maybe bring some coffee or tea and cookies along just for kicks! Think about it, what a perfect opportunity for building relationships, caring for the families who have limited opportunity to see their loved ones.
Another bonus is that when the family does come in for a scheduled visit, they won’t have to search for someone to give them an update on their loved one’s status! Wow, we sure can make a difference, can’t we? Think about it, talk about it, and live it, share the “Art of Caring” with your team, build those relationships, keep families happy so they will come back to visit more! Stay well, stay informed, and stay tuned!