North Carolina – In response to the State of Emergency in North Carolina, FOR (Friends of Residents in Long Term Care) has released the following suggestions for family members during restricted visitation due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

• Make sure you know what your loved one’s facility’s specific visitation plan is and call first before going to visit.

• If in-person visits are restricted, reassure your loved one you will be available by telephone. Call your loved one regularly. There are free video conference options such as FaceTime or Google Hangouts. Now is the time to set this up on your family member’s cell phone, tablet, or laptop. Ask the facility to consider using technology to allow virtual visits. Cordless landline phones are available in most facilities if your loved one does not have their own telephone. The U.S. Mail is still being delivered to long term care facilities at this time. Consider mailing a care package, card or personal note from you.

• If visitation is restricted, ask the facility to post daily updates via their website, or on a Facebook group so you can stay informed.

• Take to your loved one a supply of personal care items (soap, toothpaste, lip balm, undergarments, etc…). Ensure they have a favorite snack, reading materials, puzzle books, and other items to help them through what can be a challenging time. In addition, think of what items could be comforting to your family member (a new blanket or robe, no-skid socks, favorite music cd, family pictures) or anything with personal value.

• If your loved one becomes seriously ill during the State of Emergency, contact the Administration to advocate for a family member to be present with them, even during quarantine.

• Remember, you are the best resource to help your loved one during visiting restrictions. Prepare; Don’t Panic.

NCDHHS is staffing a COVID-19 phone line to answer urgent questions from the public. That number is 1-866-462-3821.