DeSantis creates task force on easing nursing home visit restrictions
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (WCTV) - Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday afternoon he is creating a task force to form a framework to safely allow visitation in Florida nursing homes and long term care facilities.
DeSantis made the announcement during a COVID-19 roundtable at ElderSource in Jacksonville.
First Lady Casey DeSantis, Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Mary Mayhew and Department of Elder Affairs Secretary Richard Prudom all attended the roundtable. Additionally, a woman who got a job as a dishwasher at her husband’s nursing home, Mary Daniel, participated in the roundtable.
Daniel took the job at RoseCastle in Deerwood so she could see her husband, who has Alzheimer’s, during the pandemic. She is on the task force as well.
“I represent hundreds of thousands of caregivers, and we are lonely, hopeless and helpless, and I am confident that we will come up with ideas,” Daniel said. ”We want to do it right.”
DeSantis first banned visits to nursing homes statewide on March 15, making it one of the earliest coronavirus restrictions for Florida.
During the roundtable, DeSantis said Floridians who have COVID antibodies should be able to visit long term care facilities.
“I would be comfortable saying if you do have those COVID-19 antibodies, you should be able to go in and see your family member,” DeSantis said.
The task force will solicit feedback from families who haven’t seen their loved ones in months and propose steps forward to see how the state can allow safe visits.
Another visitation suggestion floated during the roundtable was to allow nursing home residents to meet their loved ones outside, with everyone wearing PPE during the interaction.
“I’m looking for a real hug, I’m not looking for a virtual hug,” Daniel said. “Our goal is to get to our loved ones, they need a hug from us.”
You can watch the full roundtable, which was broadcast live on WCTV’s Facebook page, below.
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