MALONE — This week, University of Vermont Health Network, Alice Hyde Medical Center announced updates to visitation guidelines at The Alice Center's Assisted Living Program and Skilled Nursing Facility.
The changes will allow more visitors at one time and allow visitation in residents' rooms, in accordance with state Department of Health Guidelines that relaxed restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a press release said.
The Assisted Living Program and Skilled Nursing Facility are located in the same building, but do not share common areas or staff and are treated as separate facilities for the purposes of visitation.
That is why visitation at the Skilled Nursing Facility was suspended March 18 when an employee tested positive for COVID-19, while limited, in-person visitation at the Assisted Living Program continued.
The Skilled Nursing Facility will host visitation from 9 to 11 a.m., seven days per week.
During each block, 10 residents may have two visitors each who may remain for the entire two-hour period.
"Residents may have visitors in their room unless they have a roommate, in which case visitation will be held in the SNF’s dining area," the release said.
Alice Hyde Associate Vice President of Long-Term Care Susan Biondolillo said visitors and residents will still be required to wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks, and practice healthy behaviors like social distancing during visiting hours.
All visitors will be screened, have their temperatures taken prior to entry and must sign in for contact tracing purposes. A COVID-19 test is not required, but is encouraged and available at Alice Hyde's testing site at 130 Park Street from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.
“We’re excited to welcome more members of our community back to The Alice Center, and will continue to work with residents and families to ensure all visitation options, including telephone and video visits, remain available during this new phase of visitation,” Biondolillo said in a statement.
Similar to the Skilled Nursing Facility, the Assisted Living Program will host visitation from 9 to 11 a.m. seven days a week.
Ten visitors are allowed in the building at one time, and visits will take place in residents' rooms, the release said.
Residents may have two visitors for the full two-hour session. All visitors will be screened and testing is recommended prior to visiting a resident.
Assisted Living Program Administrator Sherri Dabiew said the visitation expansion was an important, positive step for residents and their families.
“Welcoming more loved ones back into our facility is an important step towards normalcy for our residents and our staff,” she said in a statement. “We continue to stress the importance of healthy behaviors and observing infection control guidelines during visits, to keep our residents safe.”
Full visitation guidelines for both programs, including how to schedule appointments ahead of time, can be found at alicehyde.com.