LI families able to meet with loved ones in nursing homes for first time in months
Reunions are happening across the Island as new nursing home rules go into effect.
The Massapequa Center nursing home in Amityville home let visitors see residents in person on Sunday. Previously, visits had to be through protective glass or outside.
North Babylon residents Kelly Banculli and Lynn Petrone say they have waited 14 months for this date. It's the day they can finally go inside and visit Kelly's aunt and Lynn's 98-year-old mother, Margret.
"Our family has been through a horrific year a very traumatic year, so this is going to be very inspiring," Banculli says.
On Thursday, New York state adjusted guidelines on visitations and removed the rule that nursing homes had to go 14 days without a positive COVID-19 test.
Visitors will have a health screening, must wear masks, and may be asked to take a rapid test, but it is not required.
Banculli says she didn't mind taking the optional test and she'd do anything to see her aunt again.
"The testing for us as a family should be a little mandated…I think it protects all of us," she says.
Every facility has a slightly different procedure on setting up a visit with a family member. At Massapequa Center, they are using an online reservations system where you can book a 45-minute window.
"They can make an appointment every day if they wish," says Richard Sherman, an administrator at Massapequa Center. "There are no limitations, all we ask is just one appointment a day."
Lynn says she used to visit her mother every day before the pandemic. She says she's looking forward to making more appointments soon.
The new visitation procedures in New York state are now in line with federal recommendations.