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In response to AARP letter

Shelly Peterson, President, North Dakota Long Term Care Association

This letter is in response to the AARP letter written by Josh Askvig regarding requiring all long term care facilities to offer and facilitate virtual visits.

All administrators and staff recognize the challenges of the visitation restrictions on residents. The last 100 days have been very difficult. Facilities are assisting with outdoor visits, window visits, and electronic virtual visits. Facilities are doing their best to help all residents and families stay connected.

Everyone is missing the physical presence of families, that relationship is important. One of the “silver linings” in this pandemic are the virtual visits, connecting families all over the United States with residents living in North Dakota long term care facilities. Just this morning, Bethany Retirement Living said they logged over 200 virtual visits last week. One family member mentioned they are more connected now than ever before. Each week thousands of virtual and outdoor visits are occurring. The leadership and staff at each facility have stepped up in the face of extraordinary circumstances, protecting and connecting our most vulnerable population. Because of their work ethic, devotion and commitment to residents, many long term care facilities are joyously celebrating recoveries from COVID-19 and residents are connecting to their families.

Today 199 of the 218 long term care facilities are in Phase 1 of reopening, which means outdoor visitation may occur. Additionally, one-on-one limited inside visitation will be opening up this week in dozens of facilities as they will be entering into Phase 2. Every long term care facility is to be commended for virtually bringing families and residents together for the past 100 days. You have done a phenomenal job and we are all proud of you.

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