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AARP AZ Statement on Long Term Care Task Force Visiting Guidelines

Two woman wearing face masks visiting their mother outside of a

AARP Arizona Statement on Long-Term Care Task Force Visiting Guidelines

With the Governor’s Task Force on Long-Term Care approving guidelines to allow families to reunite with loved ones living in long-term care facilities, AARP Arizona has announced its support for the recommendations.

“The Governor and his staff moved with expediency to develop a plan in which the task force could provide meaningful input to safely and timely reunite families with loved ones residing in long-term care facilities that have otherwise been separated by COVID-19,” said Dana Kennedy, State Director of AARP Arizona.

AARP Arizona has made participation in the work of the task force its first priority, as families have been under significant stress due to the COVID-19 restrictions on visitation. Among the many important components of the program, which includes the availability of family member testing, regardless of the level of community spread, is the task force’s ability to monitor and review the progress of the new guidelines in order to make adjustments as public health requirements necessitate.

The guidelines provide for the ability of a family member to obtain a COVID-19 test and isolate for 48 hours prior to visiting the loved one residing in the long-term care facility. Upon receiving a “negative test”, the family member will be able to request an in-person visit. It is crucial that facilities clearly communicate these visitation guidelines to families and residents upon their implementation.

The Governor’s office has indicated that most test results are currently obtained within 48 hours, if not less. If the cost of a COVID-19 test is a barrier, the availability of free COVID-19 tests continues to be offered by government agencies, community health clinics and other related organizations. For the duration of the public health emergency, all forms of public and private health insurance must cover FDA-approved COVID-19 tests and costs associated with the diagnostic testing with no cost-sharing.

“The guidelines provide a strong balance between public health, the peace of mind with family interaction and the health and safety of all individuals involved,” said Kennedy. “It is critical that guidelines provide families with the ability to obtain reliable testing before visiting a loved one in the long-term care facility.

“These recommendations still need to be reviewed by DHS and we are optimistic they will be posted by the end of the week.”

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