APPLETON, Wis. – During the initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ThedaCare implemented heightened visitor restrictions across the health system to continue caring for our communities, while minimizing the potential for exposure to the virus. To protect older adults who are most at risk of developing severe complications of COVID-19, visitor restrictions were put into place at ThedaCare long-term care facilities: The Heritage, Peabody Manor and Juliette Manor.
At this time, ThedaCare is modifying visitor restrictions at those locations. In-person visits have now resumed and long-term care residents and team members are happy to safely welcome loved ones.
“The in-person visits, reconnecting residents with their loved ones, brought a lot of smiles and long overdue hugs,” said Denise Gloede, ThedaCare Vice President of Post-Acute Care. “For the past year, these families have been creative in finding ways to connect with loved ones, and we are so proud of their strength and resiliency.”
It was that strength that helped one family during the time apart. Audrey Brandt is a resident at The Heritage, and speaks on the phone with her daughter, Kathy, every day. The months of physical separation were difficult. They remained positive, and hopeful.
When Audrey received her second dose of the vaccine, her daughter noticed a spark.
“My mother was excited, and full of hope,” Kathy said. “She was talking a mile a minute on the phone, encouraged by what being fully vaccinated would mean for seeing family.”
On March 25, 2021, the two were reunited when Kathy was able to visit her mother in her apartment. They were wearing masks, but it is clear to see they were smiling from ear to ear.
“It is such a relief, I just needed a hug,” said Audrey. “I’m very much looking forward to more visits in the future. This is what we need.”
Under new visitor guidelines for these facilities, indoor in-person visitation is permitted for all residents, regardless of vaccination status, unless:
- The county’s positivity rate is above 10% and less than 70% of residents in the facility are fully vaccinated
- The resident has a confirmed COVID-19 infection (until they have met the criteria to discontinue transmission based precautions)
- The resident is in quarantine (until they have met criteria for release from quarantine)
In-person visitors will be screened, and visits will take place in a designated area that allows for social distancing. If a resident is fully vaccinated, they can choose to have close contact with their visitor while wearing a mask. Visitors should remain physically distanced from staff and other residents during their visits. When possible, leaders explain that outdoor visitation is preferred. Virtual visits will also remain an available option.
“For more than a year, we have taken necessary precautions to keep our residents and team members protected from COVID-19,” said Gloede. “As we see positive steps to move forward in this pandemic, we will continue those safeguards, following recommendations from public health and state health officials.”
If a new case of COVID-19 is identified among residents or staff, all in-person visitation will be immediately suspended until testing has been completed and no positive cases have been revealed. Compassionate care and end-of-life visits will continue to be offered as needed.
For more information about visitor restrictions, vaccines, testing, online care options, an online symptom checker, community resources, prevention guidelines and other important news and updates, please visit thedacarecovid19.org/.
For more than 110 years, ThedaCare® has been committed to improving the health of the communities it serves in northeast and central Wisconsin. The organization delivers care to more than 600,000 residents in 17 counties and employs approximately 7,000 health care professionals. ThedaCare has 180 points of care, including seven hospitals. As an organization committed to being a leader in Population Health, team members are dedicated to empowering people to live their best lives through easy access to individualized care, supporting each person’s own health and wellbeing. ThedaCare also partners with communities to understand unique needs, finding solutions together, and encouraging health awareness and action. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care
Network Member, giving specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a not-for-profit health system with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs, as well as primary care.
For more information, visit thedacare.org or follow ThedaCare on social media. Members of the media should call Cassandra Wallace, Public and Media Relations Consultant at 920.442.0328 or the ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah switchboard at 920.729.3100 and ask for the marketing person on call.