Nov 24, 2020

DDD Issues Holiday Visitation Guidance

By Meredith L. Grocott, Esq. and Lauren I. Mechaly, Esq.

As positive COVID cases begin to rise and with the holiday season beginning, New Jersey’s Department of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) recently issued visitation guidance for licensed community residential settings. Similar to edicts from the Centers for Disease Control, the DDD strongly cautioned against in-person celebrations or gatherings with whom one does not live. Recognizing that the lack of visitation has caused disconnectedness and understanding that some may determine that the benefits of visitation outweigh the significant risks, the DDD guidance suggests visiting outdoors (or possibly indoors with adherence to existing standards) at the licensed community residential setting; telephone or video conferencing rather than in-person gatherings or celebrations; or fourteen (14) day quarantine for any individual who attends an off-site celebration or gathering (whether in the individual’s residence if that is appropriate or in the family home until he or she can safely return).

Licensed community residential settings are encouraged to develop a plan in anticipation of those residents who choose to attend an off-site celebration or gathering. The plan should:

  • Estimate how many residents can be isolated for the quarantine period in their own bedroom or an alternate location between November 25, 2020 and January 1, 2021 (considering PPE, available staffing and the ability of the individual to cooperate with the isolation in making this decision);
  • Establish a sign-up process for residents and families to make reservations to take the individual off site, limited to the number of people who can safely quarantine upon return;
  • Create a waiting list for those who request a reservation after the sign-up list has reached capacity;
  • Require 36-hours’ notice of any change in plans;
  • Require the individual/family to certify that they are aware of the dangers of exposures to Covid-19 and that they agree to follow hygiene, social distance and mask rules.
  • The issued bulletin can be found here. For more information, contact the Elder and Special Needs Law practice group.

DISCLAIMER: This Alert is designed to keep you aware of recent developments in the law.  It is not intended to be legal advice, which can only be given after the attorney understands the facts of a particular matter and the goals of the client.