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Veterans Home Family Visitation Resource Guide

The following provides a summary of various visits that are provided at MN Veterans Homes. We ask for your patience and consideration, and to work with your care team to determine what visit may be most appropriate. Please respect our responsibility for the safety and well-being of your loved one and consider the visit that provides the least amount of infection control risk.

Technology/iPad Visits

The Minnesota Veterans Homes have been facilitating technology or iPad visits since mid-March 2020. We encourage you to work with your care team to schedule frequent and regular communication in this way. These visits allow you to see and chat with your loved one in the safest way. If you are needing assistance with technology, then please contact your care team. There are numerous organizations that are providing technology to families who may not have currently have it.

Window Visits

All Minnesota Veterans Homes have window visits available. Each Home has designated areas for safe window visits, especially for facilities that are multiple floors, have double occupancy rooms with a shared window, or challenging access to a window. Protocols in place for window visits include:

  • Window visits must be scheduled in advance.
  • Please contact your care team to schedule a window visit.

Outdoor Visits

All Minnesota Veterans Homes have outdoor visits available. At times, outdoor visits may be temporarily paused due to the rate of community transmission, active COVID cases in a facility or weather. Each Home has an operational procedure for facilitating outdoor visits. Protocols in place for outdoor visits include:

  • Outdoor visits must be scheduled in advance.
  • Residents and families will remain a distance of 6 feet apart and both parties will wear a mask or face covering.
  • Technology will be available to ease with communication as needed.
  • Visitation space will be cleaned and disinfected prior to and after the visit.
  • Outdoor visits will be supervised by a staff at all times.
  • Visits will be limited to no more than 2 people.
  • Visits may will be limited to weekly.
  • Family will participate in a screening protocol to include temperature and symptom check.

Essential Caregiver Visits

Each Minnesota Veterans Home has a facility operational procedure for Essential Caregiver Visits. At times, Essential Caregiver Visits may be temporarily paused due to the rate of community transmission or active COVID cases in a facility. Essential Caregiver Visits will be limited, at this time, to a 30-60-minute visit. Because of our current staffing and our ability to provide direct hands-on care to our Residents, the primary purpose for Essential Caregiver visits is to provide emotional support to the Resident. Essential Caregiver Visits will take place in a designated area of the facility.

Qualifications for Essential Caregiver Visits

  • Identified by the Resident or Resident representative and qualify as the Essential Caregiver, and
  • Has provided regular care and support to the Resident prior to or during the pandemic
  • Only one essential caregiver per Resident.

Process for requesting an Essential Caregiver Visit

  • An Essential Caregiver (EC) request form will be completed and submitted to the Administrator of the facility.
  • EC requests will be checked and reviewed during business hours Monday-Friday and will be reviewed promptly. Applicants will be notified within two business days regarding approval.
  • Only one EC can be reviewed and assigned to each Resident.
  • Essential Caregivers may detect concerns and advocate on behalf of the Resident, observe and communicate important details and changes in a Resident’s condition or behaviors, and assist the Resident in management of complex or critical information. Essential Caregivers can provide emotional support and help honor the Resident’s personal values and may offer the benefit of physical touch via holding hands. Essential Caregivers can provide companionship and/or assistance in meeting the emotional, spiritual and psychosocial needs of the Resident. On the EC Caregiver application, the prospective EC will identify what they will do during the EC visit. MDVA will continue to provide all direct personal care and physical tasks needed by the Resident.
  • Essential Caregivers must be at least 18 years of age or older. Pets are not included as Essential Caregivers and may not accompany the Essential Caregiver during the appointment.

Protocols in place for Essential Caregiver Visits

  • Facilities will determine when EC visits will be scheduled.
  • Facilities will determine the number of EC visits scheduled per day.
  • All EC visits must be pre-scheduled. “Walk-ins” will not be permitted.
  • The EC will enter the facility and immediately report to the facility screener.
    • Screening will occur using the “Visitor, Vendor, Volunteer Form” and “Screening Declaration.” Any issues addressed on the screening form that are positive will result in a second level screening and postponement of the visit.
    • Following successful screening, the EC will be shown proper donning and doffing of Personal Protective Equipment they will need to wear during the EC visit. The EC will wear the provided appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at all times during the visit. The EC will wear the same level of PPE as facility staff.
    • Hand sanitizing will be completed before and after, and PPE will be donned.
    • Visits will occur in an identified location of the facility.
    • The EC and Resident will be reminded that holding hands is allowed, but kissing, hugging or other touching is not.
    • The screener will note reactions of the Resident and any concerns, comments or input that the EC wants to communicate to the care team.
    • After the visit, PPE will be removed and hand sanitizer will be used by both the Resident and EC.
    • Non-compliance with these expectations will be addressed and ECs will be re-educated, but continued non-compliance may result in loss of visitation privileges.
    • Visitation space will be cleaned and disinfected prior to and after the visit.

Compassion Visits

Each Minnesota Veterans Home has an operational procedure for Compassion Visits. Compassion Visits are designed to provide emotional support to the Resident. Compassion Visits are not limited to end-of-life circumstances. Compassion Visits are typically not routine or regularly scheduled appointments, compared to the Essential Caregiver visits, and occur when clinically appropriate.

At times, Compassion Visits may be temporarily paused due to the rate of community transmission or active COVID cases in a facility. Protocols in place for Compassion Visits include:

  • All Compassion Visits will be scheduled in advance.
  • Screening will occur using the “Visitor, Vendor, Volunteer Form” and “Screening Declaration.” Any issues addressed on the screening form that are positive will result in a second level screening and postponement of the visit.
  • Following successful screening, the family will be shown proper donning and doffing of Personal Protective Equipment they will need to wear during the compassion visit. The family will wear the provided appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at all times during the visit. The PPE worn will be the same level of PPE as facility staff.
  • Hand sanitizing will be completed and PPE will be donned.
  • Visits will occur at an identified location of the facility.
  • After the visit, PPE will be doffed and Hand Sanitizing completed.

End of Life Visits

Each Minnesota Veterans Home has an operational procedure for End of Life Visits. End of Life Visits are important for both the Resident and the family. Protocols in place for End of Life Visits include:

  • End of Life Visits are scheduled in advance, no walk-ins will be allowed.
  • End of Life Visits occur in the Resident room. There is a two-person limit for End of Life visits.
  • Screening will occur using the “Visitor, Vendor, Volunteer Form” and “Screening Declaration.” Any issues addressed on the screening form that are positive will result in a second level screening and postponement of the visit.
  • Following successful screening, the family will be shown proper donning and doffing of Personal Protective Equipment they will need to wear during the End of Life visit. The family will wear the provided appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at all times during the visit. The PPE worn will be the same level of PPE as facility staff.
  • Hand sanitizing will be completed, and PPE will be donned.
  • After the visit, PPE will be doffed and hand sanitizing completed.
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