If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
By Cynthia Haggitt
On Nov. 12, CMS updated its guidance for nursing home visitation and lifted the strict guidelines, times, limitations and who can visit.
This news is very exciting for families with residents at Calhoun Nursing and Rehab (CNR) who will now benefit from this announcement, especially now as the Christmas season approaches .
“Visitation is now allowed for all residents at all times; the facility will adhere to the core principles of COVID-19 infection prevention and control to mitigate the risk of infection spread. Residents may continue to deny or withdraw consent for a visitation at any time.
So long as the visitor, resident, or their representative is aware of the risks associated with visitation and the visit occurs in a manner that does not place other residents at risk (e.g., in the resident’s room), the resident will be allowed to receive visitors as he/she chooses.” Executive Director for Calhoun and Nursing Rehab Lori McKinnon said.
Kids are now allowed to visit as long as the residents’ families are following the CNR’s guidelines.
“It is nice to families and the resident’s kids and grandchildren visiting them. It makes everyone happy and it encourages our residents to want to get out of their rooms again to interact with others. Visitors can always visit of course in their loved ones rooms, we will allow them to eat in their room as long as the residents and family members stay within social guidelines,” McKinnon said. “Residents can also visit outside(weather permitting) with their families too.”
CNR will continue to screen all visitors and anyone with a positive viral test for COVID-19, symptoms of COVID-19, or who currently meets the criteria for quarantine will not be permitted to enter the facility. McKinnon released a letter last week to families and in the letter it explained what rules and regulations that are still being followed at CNR. The letter stat the following guidelines must be followed for indoor visitation and they are as follows:
Indoor Visitation guidance:
Visitors are allowed at all times and for all residents as permitted under the regulations without limitations to the frequency and length, the number of visitors nor require advance schedule of visits. Visitors are to be screened with documentation on the Visitor Screen For Visitors should not have any signs or symptoms of COVID-19. Visitors should not have had any close contact with anyone suspected of or positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days.Full vaccination of visitors is preferred. Screening is to include the following education provided by the screener. Hand sanitation upon entrance and frequently throughout the duration of the visit.
If a resident’s roommate is not vaccinated or immunocompromised (regardless of vaccination status), visitation should not be conducted in the resident’s room if possible. If the nursing home’s county COVID-19 community level of transmission is substantial to high, all residents and visitors, regardless of vaccination status should wear face coverings/masks and physical distance at all times. In low to moderate transmission areas, the safest practice is to wear face coverings/masks and physically distance.
If all visitors and the resident are fully vaccinated and the resident is not moderately or severely immunocompromised, they may choose not to wear face covering and have physical contact. Visitors should wear face coverings/masks while around other residents or health care personnel, regardless of vaccination status.
Proper social distancing practices are to be maintained throughout the visit and avoid large gatherings where large numbers of visitors are in the same space at the same time and physical distancing cannot be maintained. Residents on transmission-based precautions (TBP) or quarantine, while not recommended, can still receive visitors in the resident’s room. The resident should wear a well-fitting facemask (if tolerated). Visitors should be made aware of the risks of visitation, core principles of infection prevention. A facility is not required to, but may offer masks and other PPE as appropriate.
Indoor Visitation During Outbreak Investigation:
Visitors are to be allowed into the facility. They are to be made aware of the potential risk of visiting and adhere to core principles of infection prevention. Visitors should wear face coverings/masks, regardless of vaccination status, and visits should ideally occur in the resident’s room. Visitor testing and vaccinations may be offered by facilities that may offer testing to visitors, but are not required. Facilities should educate and encourage vaccination and ask visitors about their vaccination status.
“We are not requiring to be tested or vaccinated, or show proof of such, as a condition of visitation. If a visitor declines to disclose their vaccination status, they should wear a face covering/mask at all times. As we believe, Compassionate care visits are allowed at all times.” said McKinnon.
Ombudsman planning on visiting a resident who is on TBP or quarantine, or unvaccinated resident where county level transmission is substantial to high in the past seven days, should be made aware of the potential risk of visiting. The visit should take place in the resident’s room.
Communal Activities, Dining and Resident Outings:
Everyone should wear face coverings/masks regardless of the vaccination status. If a resident chooses to leave the facility, they should be reminded of infection prevention practices including face coverings/masks, physical distancing, and hand hygiene. Upon return, screen residents for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. If possible close contact with COVID-19 outside of the nursing home, test the resident, regardless of vaccination status, and place on quarantine if the resident has not been fully vaccinated. If resident develops signs or symptoms of COVID-19 after the outing, test the resident and place on TBP regardless of vaccination status. Facilities may opt to test unvaccinated residents without signs or symptoms if they leave nursing homes frequently or for a prolonged length of time. Facilities may consider quarantining unvaccinated residents who leave the facility based on assessment of risk. Facilities are not permitted to restrict access to surveyors based on vaccination status, nor ask a surveyor for proof of vaccination status as a condition of entry.
Visitor Testing and Vaccination:
Facilities may offer testing to visitors, but are not required. Facilities should educate and encourage vaccination.
For more information about these guidelines, people can call the Corona Operations Hotline at: 1-618-494-4430.