BOISE, Idaho — The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced earlier this week that it's now OK for vaccinated nursing home residents to have in-person visitation with their friends and families.
Many facilities in Idaho are still waiting on new state guidelines on this matter, but the Idaho State Veterans Home in Boise has already announced they will begin visits this weekend.
We talked to the home administrator there to see what their visits will look like.
It's been almost a year time since many of these veterans have seen their families.
This new guidance from CMS allows for in-person visitation, but there are some caveats.
CMS recommends that everyone visiting sanitize their hands and use proper PPE, such as a mask.
The Idaho State Veterans Home in Boise is scheduling their visits outside this weekend as an extra layer of safety.
Nearly all of the veterans at the home and 75% of staff have been vaccinated, but it is not a 100% guarantee that any of them will be protected from catching and spreading COVID-19.
Rick Holloway, the home administrator, says they had their last outbreak at the veterans home in October, and they want to keep it that way.
"If you're feeling sick, if you've been exposed to people who you know were positive or who have symptoms, just stay away from the facility until you recover from that,” he said. “We want to try to enhance visits for our veterans, support our families, but also keep everybody safe."
Visitation groups are limited to two people at a time and must be arranged in advance with the facility's activities department.
The veterans home has been doing compassionate visits and window visits through the pandemic, but this weekend is huge for them. This will be the first time in a year that these veterans have gotten to hug their loved ones.