HOUSTON — Starting Thursday, long-term care facilities in Texas can begin allowing visitors.
During an address to Texans last week, Gov. Greg Abbott lifted the restrictions, which had been in place since mid-March, that essentially locked down senior care facilities like assisted living communities and nursing homes.
Families and friends are using The Farrington at Tanglewood’s Facebook page to stay connected with their loved ones.
“We’ve been doing this for a solid six months now,” Justin Wray, senior vice-president of operations for Pegasus Senior Living which owns The Farrington, said. “Our Farrington location has weathered the storm extremely well and we’re super excited to keep opening up in any way that we can. But again, just keeping safety at top of mind.”
Wray says while some residents at the southwest Houston facility have tested positive for COVID-19, there was never enough cases at once to be considered an outbreak, which is why The Farrington, “can’t afford to get it wrong,” said Wray.
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission is in charge of setting the protocols for visitors which include a resident designating up to two people to be their personal caregiver. It can be a family member or friend. The person must test negative for COVID-19 within 14 days of their initial visit. The caregiver must be trained by the facility as to how to follow its COVID-19 guidelines. While the caregiver can have personal contact with the resident, they must wear PPE and only one caregiver can visit the resident at a time.
“We’re really fortunate, because we do operate in several states across the country. So Georgia just recently reopened,” said Wray. “They were one of the first. So we have some tools and resources,” to help with the re-opening which is happening during cold and flu season.
“We’re excited and we also want to make sure that all of the protocols that we’ve had in place, that we continue to have in place meet those needs,” said Wray.
And that’s why, even though places like the Farrington can technically reopen on Thursday, the first visitor might actually walk in sometime after that.