Okla. State Representative Pushes For Allowing Visitors Back In Nursing Homes

Tuesday, May 5th 2020, 9:04 pm

A Green Country State Representative wants Governor Kevin Stitt to begin allowing visitors back in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

The Governor's Office said last week they delivered personal protective equipment and testing kits to every single license care facility in the state. Representative Lundy Kiger asked Governor Stitt to allow visitors back in nursing homes by June 1st, but some people think that's too soon.

"Even if we could get it approved for them to moved outside and sit in a chair and you pull up in a car or you pull up and sit eight or ten feet away," said Representative Kiger.

Some nursing homes believe it's too soon to allow visitors safely.

"Now the thought of reopening the buildings and having it brought into our buildings so that we start completely over again when we feel like we are at the end of the internal battle… that's very frightening for us," said Kimberly Green, Diakonos Group Chief Operating Officer.

Green said she wants to wait on the testing results of the residents and staff at their 20 nursing homes and long-term care facilities, before allowing visitors.

"We just now started getting the PPE. We're just now seeing the strike teams. Now we're getting the testing. So, we're finally getting the things that we need and now we have someone wanting to potentially open to visitors," said Green.

She said even with starting slowly, the risk for exposure is still high.

"I myself have two parents that are in a nursing facility and I have to visit outside those windows. I understand that. However, we have to protect them as well," said Green.

Representative Kiger said the guidelines should be different for each county and each nursing home, depending on their situation.

"We have nursing homes that have zero cases, but because of the CDC and CMS restrictions on the nursing homes they still have to follow the same guidelines," said Kiger.

Governor Stitt's Office said they stand by the decision not to allow visitors in nursing homes until at least May 30th to protect the most vulnerable.