Despite Green Light, Long-Term Care Center Remains Closed to Visitors

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Monday marked a milestone in Kentucky’s phased reopening when the state gave the green light for long-term care centers to allow visitors again. However, not all facilities are welcoming guests back so soon. Sayre Christian Village’s Friendship Towers in Lexington will continue to only host visits virtually or through windows.

What You Need To Know

  • Long-term care centers in Kentucky able to welcome back visitors

  • Some continue virtual visits or visits through windows

  • Strict guidelines in place for facilities that do allow visitors

“The physical well-being and health of our residents to me is equally important as their mental health,” Saye Christian Village CEO Karen Venis said. “We’ve found very creative ways to be able to meet their mental health needs and to have those socialization opportunities to still exist.”

Venis and her staff are working out plans for how to best let visitors in while adhering to the state guidelines. She feels it’s too soon to safely allow people in without compromising the success the facility has had. So far, she says Friendship Towers has seen no COVID-19 cases. Another facility at Sayre Christian has had 10 asymptomatic cases. All those patients have now recovered. 

“For me, it’s…it poses a little bit of anxiety,” she told Spectrum News 1 about reopening. “The vast majority of our residents and family members, the feedback that I’m hearing is while they really miss their mom…they really miss their dad… they also feel like it’s too soon. They want to make sure that we’ve done an incredible job on our campus keeping our residents safe.”

Some of the state standards for allowing visits include: 

  • Adhering to social distancing of at least 6 feet during visits 
  • Requiring face masks to be worn, if possible 
  • Having staff screen residents and guests for symptoms like fever
  • Limiting groups to 10 people or less
  • Allowing visits when no staff or resident has tested positive in the last 14 days

There are even more guidelines outlined in a memo from the State. Inspector General Adam Mather joined a Zoom call with Venis and residents’ family members Monday afternoon. 

“You know it’s been a significant amount of time and I think if we waited until there were no COVID cases in the United States, we’d be waiting a very long time until we had a vaccine,” Mather told them. 

Assisted living centers are operating on a different timeline than nursing homes, which can open as soon as July 15. 

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