Dunkirk care facility allowing visitation on Monday

Submitted Photo Administrative staff Jodi Charlton, RN, director of nursing, Jonelle Frazier, discharge planner and marketing, and Colleen Hart, administrator, prepare for in-person visitation.

Chautauqua Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Dunkirk is preparing for visitations to resume on Monday.

“We have made progress and are excited, yet cautiously optimistic, as we prepare for formal visitation scheduled to begin,” said facility administrator, Colleen Hart.

The center has had a visitation policy pending approval from the state Department of Health. “We are all trying to do our best to ensure the safety of our residents,” Hart said. “There are rules, policies and protocols that need to be followed.”

Chautauqua Nursing & Rehabilitation Center reported they have not had any active COVID-19 cases among residents. “Doesn’t that fact alone allow for any understanding that we’re doing something right” said Nora Ramirez, infection control registered nurse.

The state Department of Health has issued continuous changing guidelines and the center has adhered to these guidelines, not in an effort to be malicious but to keep residents safe. “Safety is always our utmost priority. We are hopeful that the families and our community realize that the reopening criteria has been established by the state Health Department,” said registered nurse Jodi Charlton, Director of Nursing.

Most recent guidelines state that in order to meet criteria, the facility must be 14 days without any new positive COVID-19 cases — it had previously been 28 days). The facility must have adequate staffing (based on census) and all visitors must wear PPE (facility issued) and provide a negative COVID-19 test result within seven days of their scheduled visit.

To accommodate everyone, the center is offering three methods of visitation.

Chautauqua Nursing & Rehabilitation Center has been communicating with families to obtain preferences in order to scheduled and plan visits; including in-person visits, window visits (with the window closed) or continuation of virtual visits that have been occurring since March. The administration acknowledged that family involvement is vital.

Each residents primary contact has been notified of visitation and encouraged to advise of what their preference is and schedule accordingly.

In-person visitation will take place on the front porch of the facility. Each visitor is asked to arrive 10 minutes prior to his/her scheduled visitation time. They will need to sign in, complete a brief survey, provide his/her negative COVID-19 test results and have his/her temperature taken. They will receive instruction on how to safely visit their loved one, including but not limited to; no contact (tables will be set up and seating will be strategically placed), wearing facility issued PPE throughout the entire visit.

The second visitation option is a closed window visit. These visits also need to be scheduled. Designated areas have been established for window visits (they are not merely done at ground floor Resident’s windows).

The third option is to participate in a virtual visit done either via SKYPE or Facetime. More than 85% of families have been engaging in this type of visit for the last 6 months.

The situation has caused heartache and chaos to say the very least, officials at the facility said, while attempting to create an atmosphere of trust and collaboration to navigate through this difficult time. Most setbacks come with a silver lining.

“The CTNRC family would like to give special thanks to those families and residents who have continued to be so wonderful, supportive and patient through these unforeseen times,” the news release said. “CTNRC wants to focus on the tangible steps that will get us back to being a cohesive team consisting of CTRNC staff, residents and loved ones.”

For updates from the Department of Health regarding on-going visitation regulations visit www.health.ny.gov , click on Novel Coronavirus, click on Long Term Care Facilities.


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