Nursing Home COVID Visitation Restrictions Relaxed

The Holiday season got a bit brighter this year after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced on Nov. 12 that nursing home residents can now have visitors.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, strict access rules prevented most family visits and entrance by non-essential facility staff.  CMS credits successful COVID-19 vaccination rates as the primary reason for relaxation of the visitation policy.

Nursing home facilities that participate in Medicaid and Medicare programs are still required to protect their residents and staff by requiring all staff members be vaccinated. Further, they are required to

  • screen all visitors about any COVID-19 symptoms
  • require face masks and social distancing
  • provide hand sanitizer
  • post signs in facilities about COVID-19 symptoms
  • require staff members to wear personal protective equipment
  • clean and disinfect high-traffic areas
  • separate residents who have COVID symptoms
  • test the residents and staff as required.

While nursing care facilities may deny entrance to those who do not abide by posted safety requirements, traditional indoor visits (including close contact such as hugging) are now permissible. Large indoor gatherings are discouraged if social distancing isn’t possible.

If a resident has a roommate who is immunocompromised or unvaccinated, then visitors are not allowed in that resident’s room.

Residents on hospice or palliative care programs may receive compassionate care visits at any time.

To learn more about the new CMS guidelines, go to:

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