Houston Health Centre will allow visitors and residents to meet on this patio-area to allow social distancing. (Submitted/Houston Today)

Houston long-term care and assisted living facilities allow visitation

Restrictions will still be implemented for resident-safety

The Covid scare and the lack of support from family and friends during such tough times has been difficult on the residents of long-term care and assisted living facilities but with the government relaxing restrictions, facilities in Houston have started allowing visitations.

The government announced in the first week of July that long-term care facilities would be loosening the restrictions around visitation. This move came after months of strict lock-down for these facilities where families and friends were not allowed to visit the residents for their own safety and for others.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry made the announcement to final relax these restrictions.

“I know that for many seniors in long-term care the pain has been immense,” she said. “You have suffered more than others.”

Based on Dr. Henry’s guideline, the Cottonwood Manor in Houston, is now allowing each resident to have visitors over, with certain protocols in place. Nicole Oben, the site manager for the assisted living facility said that they have set up a separate area where residents can meet with their visitor. They have done this to ensure that the staff can sanitize and keep the area clean. This will also minimize the area that would need to be monitored. The residents and the visitors are being encouraged to follow social distancing protocols as well.

Houston Health Centre, which is managed by Northern Health (NH), is also allowing visits to its long-term care residents. However, they have certain protocols in place to ensure there is ample social distancing. All visits have to be pre-arranged or decided by taking a prior appointment, only one designated family member can visit per resident and that too between the hours of nine to two in the morning during weekdays and nine to 12 during weekends. Each resident will be allowed to have an hour-long visit and all visits will take place outside on the patio. Staff will meet designated visitors at the door for screening and sign in and all visitors will need to wear a mask and maintain a six feet distance.

Eryn Collins, the spokesperson for NH said that separate patio visits were “to allow for physically distanced visits”, due to the limited space inside.

“We are very pleased that this access is able to open back up some what and what we have in place at this time is aimed at making sure everyone remains safe and healthy,” she said.

“We will be keeping an eye on reviewing how this goes and there is the potential for the visiting processes and protocols to change again.”

Priyanka Ketkar
Multimedia journalist


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