Outdoor visitation is now required in California nursing homes but many facilities have not gotten the memo. Here is a sample letter to use to distribute the memo and get outdoor visits for nursing home residents.
Jane Doe, Administrator
Rolling Acres Rehabilitation Center
123 Main Street
Anytown, CA 90000
Sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Jane Doe:
My name is Cecil DeMille and I am the son of Rolling Acres resident Lucy DeMille. Since the mid-March COVID-19 pandemic, Rolling Acres has not permitted any visitation with residents. I am writing to demand that my mother receive scheduled outdoor visits from me and other members of my family.
Nursing home residents’ rights to visitation from family and friends are specially protected in myriad federal and state laws and regulations because visitation is vitally important to residents’ well-being. Aside from the obvious psychological benefits that visitation and companionship provide, visitation is also clinically beneficial to residents. Visitors often provide direct care that is not only supplemental to that provided by the facility staff, but essential to residents’ health and safety. In addition, visitors’ observations, supervision, and advocacy ensure residents are getting their care delivered appropriately and as needed.
At the outset of COVID-19, nursing homes throughout the state shut out visitors to prevent the introduction of coronavirus into the facilities. That measure has mostly failed. The majority of nursing homes have had COVID-19 outbreaks. As the initial weeks of the visitation ban have turned into months, there has been a critical re-balancing of the cost-benefit assessment of visitation. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recently issued a policy that REQUIRES facilities to allow outdoor visitation with residents. Thus, state rules require that you permit Lucy DeMille to have scheduled outdoor visits from her family.
Please contact me upon receipt of this letter to schedule an outdoor visit for my mother. I wish to visit her within the next week.