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Fourth Florida long-term care task force meeting gets closer to finalizing visitation guidelines

(WSAW)
Published: Aug. 25, 2020 at 11:03 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Florida's long-term care task force is closer to finalizing recommendations on allowing visitation.

On Tuesday, the group suggested facility residents could designate up to two essential or compassionate caregivers.

An essential caregiver is deemed anyone who provides health care services and activities of daily living as outlined in the resident’s plan of care or service plan. 

A compassionate caregiver provides limited emotional support to a resident for things like a loss of a loved one or having a difficult transition.

The group recommended one caregiver be allowed in during a scheduled time.

These visits could happen even if COVID-19 cases were present in the facility.

However, these designated caregivers must meet certain CDC guidelines, as well as wear PPE equivalent to staff.

"This looks like it allows the flexibility at the care center so that they can work to try and make this work while keeping the other residents safe and the staff safe," Emmett Reed, Executive Director of the Florida Healthcare Association said.

The group recommending general visitation, indoor or outdoor, could happen if a facility goes 14 days without any new onset of COVID-19 by residents and staff.

Criteria would include, but not be limited to, two people per visit, must be 18 or older, maintain six feet of social distance and wear a facial covering.

Because visitors would not be wearing PPE equivalent to staff, the state's surgeon general, while empathetic, said he's hesitant about visitors physically touching their loved ones.

It's a point not everyone on the task force agreed with.

“I realize there’s a risk. I realize that. But we’ve come too far. This is six months. These people need to be touched. They can be touched by the staff. I can touch my husband as the dishwasher. I can be able to touch him as his wife. Please don’t take that away from us at this point,” Mary Daniel, founder of Caregivers for Compromise, said.

The task force will meet again at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, August 26.

At this time, they’ll finalize their recommendations and then submit their plan to the governor for approval.

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