Wednesday March 11, 2021 marked a new release of updated guidelines for visiting nursing homes. Since the emergency shutdown of most non-emergency visits a year ago by CMS, (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services), residents of nursing homes have had minimal to no physical contact with the outside world.

“CMS recognizes the psychological, emotional, and physical toll that prolonged isolation and separation from family have taken on nursing home residents, and their families,” CMS chief medical officer Dr. Lee Fleisher said in a Wednesday statement. “That is why, now that millions of vaccines have been administered to nursing home residents and staff, and the number of COVID cases in nursing homes has dropped significantly, CMS is updating its visitation guidance to bring more families together safely.”

With the reopening of nursing homes there are still restrictions and precautions to follow. The following will require operators of the home to restrict indoor visitations for residents involved:

  • Unvaccinated residents will not be allowed visitors if the surrounding county COVID-19 positivity rate exceeds 10% and less than 70% of residents in a facility have been fully vaccinated
  • Residents who have been confirmed COVID-positive will not be able to receive visitors until they meet criteria to discontinue transmission-based protocols
  • Quarantined residents cannot accept visitors until they meet the criteria to be released from quarantine

CMS still suggests social distancing, having outdoor visitations but notes that, if the resident is fully vaccinated, they can choose to have close contact (including touch) with their visitor while wearing a well-fitting face mask and performing hand-hygiene before and after. Visitors are not required to provide proof of a vaccination or proof of  negative test to enter a facility, but it is much preferred to ensure the safety of the residents and staff.


Source: Alex Spanko of Skilled Nursing News