CMS Updates Nursing Home Guidance with Revised Visitation Recommendations
On March 10, CMS, in collaboration with the CDC, issued updated guidance for nursing homes to safely expand visitation options during the COVID-19 pandemic public health emergency.
This latest guidance comes as more than 3 million doses of vaccines have been administered within nursing homes, thanks in part to the CDC’s Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program, following the FDA authorization for emergency use of COVID-19 vaccines.
According to the updated guidance, facilities should allow responsible indoor visitation at all times and for all residents, regardless of vaccination status of the resident, or visitor, unless certain scenarios arise that would limit visitation for:
- Unvaccinated residents, if the COVID-19 county positivity rate is greater than 10 percent and less than 70 percent of residents in the facility are fully vaccinated,
- Residents with confirmed COVID-19 infection, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, until they have met the criteria to discontinue transmission-based precautions, or
- Residents in quarantine, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, until they have met criteria for release from quarantine
The updated guidance also emphasizes that “compassionate care” visits should be allowed at all times, regardless of a resident’s vaccination status, the county’s COVID-19 positivity rate, or an outbreak. Compassionate care visits include visits for a resident whose health has sharply declined or is experiencing a significant change in circumstances. Read more from CMS...
Additionally, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine reiterated key components of CMS' new federal regulations for nursing home visitations during a press conference earlier this week. He highlighted the progress being made by Ohio's Vaccine Maintenance Program for nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Ohio's Vaccine Maintenance Program ensures new nursing home residents and employees, and established residents and employees who previously decided not to receive a vaccine, can still choose to receive one. Gov. DeWine emphasized the importance of every nursing home resident receiving a vaccine. Long-term care facility visitation status is available on the state's dashboard.