OKLAHOMA CITY – Care Providers Oklahoma President and CEO Steven Buck today released the following statement in regards to Governor Kevin Stitt’s executive order allowing for visitation to long-term care facilities to resume in a phased approach effective June 15:
“Throughout this pandemic, Governor Stitt and his administration have communicated with the skilled nursing profession that their desire is to resume visitation as soon as it is safe. Our operators and staff share that desire because restrictions on visitation directly impact quality-of-life for our residents and their loved ones.
“At the same time, we expect this process to unfold cautiously and with an emphasis on safety. Visitors to skilled nursing facilities should expect to see facilities enforcing new measures that impact when visitations can occur, limits to physical contact and proximity to residents, and other safety precautions. We appreciate the patience and understanding of our residents and their families thus far and ask for their continued cooperation in the days, weeks, and months ahead. Ongoing collaboration, including working closely with our colleagues in public health, is necessary to protect the safety of our residents, staff and broader communities.
“Furthermore, we hope policymakers understand that opening our facilities will result in significant staffing needs, increased use of PPE and sanitation equipment, and potentially more cases in our facilities as the virus enters our facilities from the community and not the other way around. This comes at a time when nursing homes are already incurring skyrocketing expenses as they work to protect residents and staff from COVID-19. It is heartening to see that Gov. Stitt’s announcement includes the mention of a new grant program for long-term care facilities funded by the CARES Act. It is impossible to understate how urgently this is needed and how important it is for the state to deliver substantial financial assistance as soon as possible.”