With the majority of nursing home residents now vaccinated, families are naturally asking 'When can we visit?' Though CMS has not updated requirements since September, vaccinations now put nursing homes in a better position to meet them.
CMS Requirements for Visitation
[With the exception of compassionate care visitation]
- No COVID-19 cases in last two weeks
- No outbreak testing currently underway
- COVID-19 county positivity rate less than 10 percent
- Adherence to the core principles of COVID-19 infection prevention (printable PDF)
CMS further stipulated:
- Visitors adhere to core principles with staff monitoring
- Visitors are limited per resident and by facility size with recommendations:
- Maximum must not exceed 20% facility residents
- Visitor movement is limited and kept to designated spaces, with outdoor preferred
States Reopening This Week
These recommendations reconsidered, we've seen states like Delaware, Ohio, Michigan, New York and Tennessee opening nursing homes this week. Delaware's policies seemed carefully thought out and perhaps offer a good starting point for others.
New York also added the requirement of testing within 72-hours of visit for those in counties with a 5-10% positivity rate. CMS also encourages testing in this scenario, as well as among those who visit as often as weekly.
Pressures from AARP
AARP joins families in pressing for visitation decisions from nursing homes, asking facilities to provide clear, advanced guidance to loved ones. Further, they ask virtual visits to be made a priority.
Resources to Assist Nursing Homes with Visitation
Understanding your plates remain full, we've collected the following resources as quick reference or help.
- CMS County Positivity Rate Reports
- Core Principles of COVID-19 Infection Prevention [Shareable Flyer]
- Core Principle #1-4 Flyers: Screening | Hand Hygiene | Mask Dos/Donts | Social Distancing