The Massachusetts Department of Health (DPH), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and the Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA) released guidance on how to safely begin indoor family visitation with our residents.
We are pleased to now offer our families the options to schedule brief, supervised indoor visits with their loved ones. These visits will comply with strict protocols for infection control.
Please note that indoor visits are contingent on the status of COVID-19 cases in the residences. Per regulations, we are not allowed to have indoor visitation if a resident or staff member tests positive within the residence. If indoor visitation is suspended, every effort will be made to accommodate outdoor visits, weather permitting, or to reschedule visits as quickly as possible.
All outdoor visits already on the schedule will be automatically converted to an indoor visit. You do not need to reschedule your visit.
Who is allowed to receive in person family visits?
Any resident who has not previously tested positive for COVID-19 or has recovered will be allowed to have family visitors. Residents with active or suspected COVID-19 infections as well as any residents who are symptomatic, under quarantine, or new admissions will not be able to receive in person visitors.
How many family visitors are allowed at one time?
Per DPH, a maximum of two family visitors are allowed per visit.
How do I schedule an in person family visit?
In person family visits can be scheduled through our website at https://www.germancentre.org/. Visits must be scheduled in advance to allow staff to make the necessary preparations. In order to provide all families with the opportunity to schedule visits, in person visits are limited to one time per week. Schedules will be determined on a first come first serve basis.
Will family visitors undergo screening?
Family visitors must pass a temperature check and screening questionnaire at the start of the visit. Family visitors must fit the following criteria to be able to visit:
- Do not feel ill
- Free of symptoms of COVID-19 infection including fever ≥ 100.0° F, shortness of breath, sneezing, chest pain or pressure, cough, sore throat, headache, loss of taste or smell, chills, uncontrolled shaking, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Come from households without COVID-19 symptoms listed above
- No close contact with anyone who tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 15 days
What is the protocol before and during the in person family visit?
During the in person family visits, residents and family visitors must wear a mask and maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet from each other at all times. We ask that family visitors bring a mask with them, preferably medically-approved (surgical, N95, KN95). Family visitors must refrain from any physical contact including hugging and touching.
Family visits will occur in a designated space. Any surfaces in direct contact with people will be cleaned and sanitized in between visits. Staff will be on hand to supervise these visits and ensure compliance with all infection control protocols.
Are family visitors allowed to bring food or other items for residents?
We strongly discourage our families from bringing in any items for residents during their visit. Please note that any items may be subject to additional quarantine steps prior to being allowed inside.
Are we allowed to bring pets to the visit?
No, pets are not permitted on a family visit.
Will outdoor visits continue when indoor visitation begins?
Due to the need to supervise visits, outdoor visitation will no longer be available once indoor visitation commences. Family members are not allowed to bring residents outside during indoor visits. This will violate social distancing.
What happens if there is a positive case of the virus in the residence?
Per regulatory guidelines, indoor visitation is not allowed when there is an outbreak, defined as at least one positive case of a staff member or resident. Weather and temperature permitting, an alternate location outdoors may be available. If we are unable to hold a family visit, we will be in contact to let you know and help you reschedule.
What happens if a family visitor develops symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19 within 2 days of visiting?
All family visitors must contact the residence if they develop symptoms or test positive for COVID-19 within 2 days of visiting, per regulatory guidelines. They must be prepared to state the date of their visit and any individuals in the residence they were in contact with during that time.
My loved one is not allowed to have visitors. What can I do to stay connected?
For those who are not able to have family visits, we strongly encourage you to schedule a family video call by contacting Carol Kelly, Director of Resident Life at (617) 325-1230. Virtual visits will continue to be available to our residents and families.
How long will this plan be in place?
We will monitor and adjust this process as necessary to protect the health and safety of our residents and staff. The plan may change at any time if we receive further direction from DPH. We are excited to welcome back our families into our residences and look forward to seeing you soon!