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Allowing family visits in long term care facilties could be a phased-in process

The chairman of a task force working on ways to safely allow family members to visit their relatives in long term care facilities is hoping to have a draft proposal ready for Gov. Doug Burgum this week.

Visitation was severly restricted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

That task force is chaired by Christopher Larson, a resident of the Luther Memorial Home in Mayville.

"A lot of my fellow residents are yearning for a visit with their loved ones," Larson said in an interview. "That's something happening across the state."

Larson said he began working with the North Dakota Long Term Care Association to establish the task force. He said it also includes representatives from the state Human Services Department, as well as members of the state Legislature.

Larson said he expects the proposal will be a phased-in plan to allow visitation.

"We're not going to rush in and say, 'Hey -- you have a nursing home with 20 positives, but you have to open right away,'" Larson said. "No."

Larson said the Heart of America facility in Rugby has adopted a set of “compassionate care” guidelines – and he's hoping to use those.

"It's definitely my goal to at least get compasssionate care guidelines out, to get those loved ones whose health is failing have their family members in," Larson said.

A work group within the task force will meet today (Tuesday)  to come up with recommendations.

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