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Home for the holidays? Officials warn against long-term care residents leaving facilities

Published: Nov. 18, 2020 at 11:46 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 19, 2020 at 10:31 AM CST
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) — Texas nursing facilities are making decisions on how to handle the Thanksgiving holiday with residents including residents who would like to go home for the holidays to spend time with their families.

In a webinar Texas Health and Human Services officials said residents have “the right to make an informed decision to leave the facility for a holiday activity.”

In fact, the Resident Bill of Rights under Texas State law forbids nursing facilities from holding residents against their will. Therefore, the Texas Health and Human Services has advised nursing facility officials to allow residents to leave for the holidays if they wish but to discourage them from doing so.

HHSC officials continue to reiterate CDC recommendations that families avoid large holiday gatherings. They instead are encouraged to opt for outdoor gatherings, follow hand washing and mask-wearing guidance.

The HHSC requires residents who leave for their facilities for the holidays to quarantine in their room or unit for 14 days if:

  • They have been gone overnight
  • They are exposed to someone with COVID-19
  • They are exposed to someone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms while awaiting test results

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