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Some Arkansas nursing homes prepare for visitors beginning this week

July 1 will be the first time visitors are allowed inside a nursing home in Arkansas in nearly four months.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — July 1 will be the first time visitors are allowed inside a nursing home in Arkansas in nearly four months.

"The visits won't look like they looked in the past, they'll be a lot different," Rachel Bunch said. "With rules and guidelines, I think it is worth the risk if its done carefully."

Rachel Bunch is the executive director of the Arkansas Healthcare Association, where she's been in close contact with the department of health.

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"Last week though, the federal government came out with some additional steps that they wanted facilities to take and some things to consider," she said.

  • Only two visitors per resident will be allowed.
  • You must make an appointment before you arrive
  •  A mask and answering screening questions is required 
  • Meet in a designated area. 

"The only time that visits will be allowed in patients rooms will be when its an end of life situation or when that patient is not able to relocate to a common area," Bunch said.

Not every nursing home will open on July 1. The state is leaving it up to each individual home to decide if they want to allow visitors. Some places may only allow outdoor visits.

"We have facilities that are getting gazebos, picnic tables, rocking chairs on the porches," Bunch said.

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A nursing home must be COVID free for at least 28 days in order to re-open. If a worker or resident tests positive, the facility has to re-close again for 28 days. Vigilant testing will also remain in place.

"When we go down this road, if this is something where we see cases coming up, we are ready to adjust quickly if we need to," Bunch said.

Bunch recommends calling the nursing home you want to visit to see if they will open their doors July 1.