COEDD: Visiting loved ones in long-term care facilities during Thanksgiving

Stuffed Turkey for Thanksgiving Holidays with Vegetables and Other Ingredients

With the Thanksgiving season upon us, COEDD Area Agency on Aging in Shawnee asks everyone to please remember friends and loved ones in long-term care facilities.

Holidays can be a lonely time for residents. Memories of happier times and past family gatherings added to their present situation can cause a deep sadness, especially with the lack of visitors during the Covid pandemic. And not having anyone come to visit can sometimes turn temporary sadness into serious depression for residents.

While you may be cautious to consider visiting friends and loved ones in a long-term care facility, with proper precautions and infection prevention guidelines, a wonderful time could be had for everyone. Recently the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services implemented that long-term care facilities open visitation back up for their residents. If the visitor follows the Covid-screening process set by the facility, a resident may even be able to share a Thanksgiving meal with their family and friends at the facility. With open communication and a plan in place, residents do have the right to leave the facility to have Thanksgiving at their family or friends’ homes.

Please remember that following CDC guidelines is strongly recommended for the safety of everyone and with cooperation between facilities, families, and residents, this Thanksgiving season should not be lonely for our loved ones in long-term care facilities. Family and friends are strongly encouraged to call the facility and familiarize themselves with the facilities protocol for screening of visitors as well as checking out residents for non-medical visits outside the facility.

Should you feel your loved one’s rights are not being respected or have questions in regard to visiting your loved one in a long-term care facility, please feel free to call your local Ombudsman Supervisor at 405.273.6410 (Cherry Love ext. 127 for Hughes, Pottawatomie, and Seminole counties and Denise Luzmoor for Lincoln, Okfuskee, Pawnee, and Payne counties).