HALTOM CITY, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Visitors were allowed inside the Life Care Center of Haltom Friday after new visitation guidelines for nursing homes, assisted living facilities, intermediate care facilities, home and community-based service providers and inpatient hospice were announced by Gov. Greg Abbott last week.

And though they were able to adjust to the new rules in time, the quick turnaround of just one week offered by Abbott has placed many North Texas facilities in a scramble.

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Under the new guidelines, residents will be allowed to designate up to two essential family caregivers who can schedule visits. Though social distancing is not required, only one caregiver wearing the proper PPE is allowed inside at a time.

Randy Langford, the executive director of Life Care Center of Haltom, said the only reason they were able to allow visitors inside within a week’s notice was because they have been preparing for months.

“He makes this announcement and everyone is just assuming… we get to come in here! But there is so much that goes into making that possible and a safe thing to do,” Langford said. “There have been a lot of hoops to have to jump through… I mean, we are all winging it.”

They had to apply through the state, as well as submit safety infection policies, a floorplan and more. This was on top of having enough PPE for visitors and waiting on residents’ COVID-19 test results, which can take weeks.

He said he believes most facilities just couldn’t make it happen in seven days.

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“It’s been crazy. It’s been mind-numbing actually,” Langford said.

Despite the hectic week, it paid off on Friday when families were reunited inside.

Cherri Mooney, a family member of a resident, said she was excited beyond words.

“Very blessed and lucky. It means the world,” Mooney said. “Through window panes was just not enough.”

Langford said their reunion is the exact reason they wanted to ensure residents could see their loved ones as soon as possible.

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“We were passionate about making this happen, because we know how vital it is for the residents,” Langford said.

Nicole Nielsen