By REBECCA HAZEN
Dade Health and Rehabilitation is now welcoming visitors, after being closed to the public for over a year.
Residents at the facility can now see their friends and family members for 15-20 minute time slots, by appointment.
“That gives us time to clean the room really well before we bring the next family in,” Social Services Director Whitney Sampley said.
Sampley asks that the visitors try to call ahead of time to schedule appointments, but they do understand that some people may not know their schedule ahead of time, and they try to accommodate everyone.
“We haven’t turned anyone down yet and we’re not going to if we can help it,” Sampley said.
There are no set times for appointments, but they try to have appointments when there are more staff available. The facility offers both evening and weekend appointment times.
Right now staff is only allowing a total of three people per visit but this could change in the future.
The friends and family visit in a room that is near the entrance, to limit the amount of traffic throughout the building.
“We bring them up to the door and then will ask them some questions to make sure that they are not having any symptoms of COVID-19. Then we check their temperature. They wash their hands, and then they are allowed to go into the building with a mask. We escort them into the room and then bring their family member in,” Sampley explained.
Sampley continued, “It’s been very emotional in a good way. We have all shed tears in these last few weeks. The people, they didn’t know if they would ever be able to have visitors again, because it just seemed like it went on and on. It has been very special to all of the staff and of course the residents.”
In the past, the facility did not have any visiting hours before, with people coming and going at any time.
“None of us really know right now what the next step is. Hopefully we can let people come in and come and go as we please, but I just don’t know when we will be there,” Sampley said.
According to Sampley, Dade Health and Rehabilitation decided to reopen for visitors based on the number of vaccinated people in the county, and the number of ongoing cases.
“We are at a lower level [of cases] right now, so as long as that continues, we will hopefully keep moving in the right direction and not go backwards,” Sampley said.
The nursing facility, located on Sand Mountain at 1234 GA-301, currently has 44 residents, some of which are there long-term, and some for short–term rehab services.
“That is a lower number than what we are used to. People are going home, or getting at home health, versus going in a nursing facility because of the restrictions that have been in place. But now we are opening back up a little at a time, so hopefully we will see some new faces coming in,” Sampley said.
Dade Health and Rehabilitation is still cleaning on a regular basis, and the staff is wearing personal protective equipment as needed.
“It feels like we’re always wiping surfaces,” Sampley said. “We are on a schedule where all the heavily touched surfaces are wiped every two hours.”
Sampley also noted that anyone who is COVID-19 positive, or had it in the past, is not allowed to room with someone who has not had the virus.
For more information about Dade Health and Rehabilitation and to schedule a visitation appointment call (706) 657-4171.