Covid-19 Visitation Update from Nye Health Services VP of Operations, Kristin Harris

We have reached a historic time for our organization and country. We have passed the one-year anniversary of the pandemic. I will never forget the day I received the phone call back on Saturday, March 7th, 2020, and was notified that we had our first confirmed Covid-19 positive case in Nebraska. We learned that the individual had participated in a YMCA event with over 500 participants, located in a community where we have three of our Nye Health Services campuses. I will never forget the immediate action taken by our campus teams and leaders to secure our environments and restrict visitation at our three Fremont campus locations, fighting to keep the virus out of our campuses. There was heartache and anxiety felt by everyone because we didn’t really know what to expect.

Our team made personal phone calls to every family member, every team member, and spoke one on one with each of our residents. I clearly remember that our message was intended to be hopeful, that we anticipated a two-week timeline, until contact tracing and exposure risk within the community could be determined. Then two weeks turned into three, and three into four. Then one month turned into two, and so on. It seems completely unbelievable to me looking back at where we were one year ago compared to where we are now. An entire year later, and our guidance is to finally begin accommodating visitation! To say we are beyond excited is an understatement!

We have been hosting many compassionate care visits on our campuses, and the joy accompanied with such an emotional and significant moment for our residents, family members and team members is unparalleled. The love, laughter, and happy tears we get to witness every day create so much eagerness for the joy we have ahead!

As we begin opening the doors to our campuses and easing our visitation restrictions, we will be following the guidance received from CMS and DHHS. We ask for your patience and support as we once again implement new processes to ensure we can maintain the infection precautions in place to reduce the risk of any Covid-19 exposure.

Please review the below critical precautions related to visitation on our campuses to maintain safety and minimize the risk of Covid-19 exposure:

  1. Outdoor visitation is always the preferred method for any visitation due to the minimized risk of exposure to Covid-19, and will be prioritized as weather permits.
  2. Visitors will complete and pass the pre-visit screening on a kiosk located at the entry point to the campus.
  3. Visitors will wear a face mask at all times and complete hand hygiene before and after the visit.
  4. Visitors with any exposure to a Covid-19 positive individual, regardless of the visitor’s vaccination status, will have entry restricted for 14 days past the exposure date.
  5. Visitors will be escorted directly to the resident room at the beginning of the visit, and directly out of the campus at the end of the visit. Visitors may not congregate or gather in any public spaces, including livings rooms, nurses’ stations, dining rooms, hallways, or offices at any time. Since public spaces are prohibited to visitors, including restrooms, please plan accordingly prior to the visit.
  6. If a resident has been fully vaccinated and is 2 weeks post final vaccine, they may choose to have physical contact with a visitor. Yes, that means hugs!!!!  I am anticipating lots of happy tears! Please wear your face mask at all times and sanitize your hands before and after resident contact.
  7. Per the Center for Medicare and Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, the quarantine period following a medical appointment or resident outing will be contingent upon the vaccination status of the resident, total vaccination status of the resident population, county positivity rate, and vaccination status of any close contacts during the outing. Please complete the Outing Education & Agreement document with a campus team member prior to taking a resident out of the campus for any reason.

Spring is a time of new beginnings and a time where farmers start planting their crops, gardens are planted, animals come out and everything comes back to life. How timely that it aligns with these significant changes and opportunities for our residents, family members and team members. We look forward to seeing you smile with your eyes as you begin celebrating within our environments again and appreciate your support and trust in our services. Our mission is to “Celebrate Life” and this is definitely a time for celebration!