COVID-19 CMS Visitation Update | May 2021

On Wednesday April 27th, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a revised memo (QSO-20-39-NH) with updated guidance on visitation in nursing homes, including the impact of COVID-19 vaccinations.

Visitations may be conducted without scheduling or time constraints; as long as the center is not deemed in “outbreak status.” If the center is in outbreak status, additional clarity will be provided at that time or can be found in the QSO-20-39-NH. Compassionate care visits and visits required under federal disability rights law are allowed at all times, for any resident (vaccinated or unvaccinated) regardless of the center’s outbreak status.

Regardless how visitation is conducted; the Core Principles of COVID-19 Infection Prevention must be followed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 infections:

  • Screening of all who enter the facility for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g., temperature checks, questions about and observations of signs or symptoms), and denial of entry of those with signs or symptoms or those who have had close contact with someone with COVID-19 infection in the prior 14 days (regardless of the visitor’s vaccination status)
  • Hand hygiene (use of alcohol-based hand rub is preferred)
  • Masking and social distancing at least six feet between persons, in accordance with CDC guidance
  • Cleaning and disinfecting high-frequency touched surfaces in the facility often, and designated visitation areas after each visit.
  • Appropriate use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Effective cohorting of residents (e.g., separate areas dedicated to COVID-19 care)
  • Resident and staff testing conducted; as required

Excerpt from QSO:

“… Visitation can be conducted through different means based on a facility’s structure and residents’ needs, such as in resident rooms, dedicated visitation spaces, outdoors, and for circumstances beyond compassionate care situations.””

It is important to note, while our teams will be adhering to the guidance of CDC and practicing strict infection control, visitors should be aware of the potential for COVID-19 exposure in congregate settings.

Our team is dedicated to providing the best quality of life for the residents we serve. We continue taking precautions to protect our residents and staff, and we are committed to keeping you well informed about the care of your loved ones. If you have questions, concerns or comments regarding the updated guidance, please contact your facility administrator.
*Fully vaccinated refers to a person who is ≥2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or ≥2 weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine, per the CDC’s Public Health Recommendations for Vaccinated Persons

Public Resources:

For information and public access to COVID-19 vaccines click the state below.

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