Ohio announced nursing home outdoor visitation date, families excited

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By WSYX ABC6, June 29 2020

An announcement from the governor Monday that many have been waiting for. Outdoor visitation for nursing homes and start July 20.

“I’m going to give her the biggest hug ever. I’m excited,” said Gaylene Weber, who says her 76-year-old mother Barb Winely is in a nursing home in Bucyrus. “I just can’t wait to get my arms around her on the 20th of July. It’s been too long and I miss her immensely.”

Since March, the mother-daughter duo has been communicating by phone, looking at each other through a glass window at the nursing home. “She tells you she feels like a prisoner in the nursing home, that breaks your heart.”

Like many other Ohio families, Weber is concerned about her mother’s mental health during this pandemic.ADVERTISING

“When I can see she’s upset or when she tells me she’s upset, you know I do my best to hold it back and wait until I get back into my car and that’s when it really hurts,” Weber said.

Gov. Mike DeWine said the mental health of people in nursing homes is a huge factor in the state’s decision to allow outdoor visitation.

“We realize that the lack of in-person engagement with family and friends who live inside of these congregate settings, may significantly diminish one’s quality of life,” said DeWine Monday afternoon at the statehouse.

The state asks nursing homes consider the following before allowing visitations; local cases and cases in the nursing home itself, staffing levels, access to testing for staff and residents, personal protective equipment supplies and local hospital capacity.

DeWine was asked Monday about the state’s decision to allow visitations for our most vulnerable population despite a concerning increase in COVID-19 cases in certain parts of the state.

“These are tough, tough decisions,” DeWine said. “What we’ve outlined is a very thoughtful process. I think that virtually every group that has looked at it, has gotten input and we’ve taken everything everybody has said into consideration so that once testing is done in the nursing home and if they don’t have the virus in the nursing home, then and other things have to take place as well… Then visitation can take place outside.”

The Ohio National Guard also says it’s done testing in at least 258 nursing homes so far and plans to increase testing.