We have heard from our members that one of the most challenging aspects of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic has been balancing safety, connection, and well-being in visitation policies at places of care. Early policies were highly restrictive, aimed at stopping transmission of the virus. This changed as our knowledge about, and resources for, fighting transmission increased and we understood the impact these restrictive policies were having on the very people they were intended to protect.
The core lesson that emerged is a shift from thinking of a patient's family, friends, and others as "nice to have visitors" to recognizing them as essential partners in the care of that patient or resident, especially for those with serious illnesses.
The Coalition has put together guidelines and examples that aim to help organizations develop and implement policies that support this shift, no longer thinking of how we need to restrict visitation for the safety of our patients and caregivers, but, instead, how we need to integrate essential care partners into every patient's care for that very same reason.