After enduring a year of isolation and fear of COVID-19, nursing home residents might be allowed to receive visitors very soon. It’s exciting and heartwarming to be able to see a loved one after an entire year of only phone calls and messaging. Excitement is expected; however, one should also be prepared for this reunion.

One year is a long time, especially for those already in the later years of life. Changes in your loved one and within the facility are bound to have taken place. Residents have faced isolation, COVID protocols, and endured a unique hardship. Be excited to see your loved one’s face for the first time in a long time, and also be prepared to witness a year’s worth of changes.

Be Realistic

For those already in decline, enduring a long year of unknown variables and new precautions could speed along the decrease in physical and mental functions. It’s never easy to witness the decline, but it does help if you’re prepared to see changes.

Talk to Staff Beforehand

The only people in contact with your loved one throughout the previous year will have been the nursing home staff. Talk to workers before your visit and discuss what has been going on and how your loved one is doing.

Social Workers

Social workers are prepared to answer questions and help residents and their families through rough times. Find the social worker at your loved one’s facility and discuss any issues bothering you – practical or emotional. These workers are there to ensure everyone’s on the same page and content with the situation.

The previous year has been emotional, to say the least, and seeing how a loved one has declined over through this time is going to be difficult – prepared or not. Take advantage of the social worker at the facility and talk it through. These professionals will help you process everything and make the reunion with your loved one meaningful and pleasant.

Discuss Care Needs

With cognitive and physical changes potentially taking place over the course of a year, there’s a chance the needs of your loved one have changed as well. He or she might need more or less of one thing or to implement a new plan entirely. Be prepared to discuss these modifications to the plan and seek out physician advice if necessary. Again, one year is a long time for a patient in a long-term health facility. Don’t let potential revisions to the plan of care catch you off guard or overwhelm you. Know that it’s a possibility and be prepared to ask for second opinions.

Follow the Protocols in Place

Even if visitations are soon to make a comeback in nursing homes, these residents still retain their high risk statuses. The facilities will have proper protocols in place for you to see your loved one again, and every precaution must be taken seriously. COVID-19 still leaves us with unanswered questions and has not been eradicated. The health and well-being of the nursing home residents and their staff is top priority, so take every rule and regulation seriously.

How amazing will it feel to see the face of your loved one, in person, once again? Remember to prepare yourself for the reunion and of course, enjoy every moment spent with this special person.


Here at Austin RNC, we now allow our residents to have vistors in accordance with the rules and regulations. It’s really exciting for our residents to have their long-awaited reunions! 

Author Carly Commiato headshot

About the Author

Carly Commiato is currently teaching junior high at a small town district. She has a degree in Exercise Physiology and an ACSM Exercise Physiologist (EP-C) Certification. In her spare time, Carly enjoys babysitting for her friends and spending time outdoors.