Friday, November 19, 2021

Updated Visitation Guidance from CMS

Last week CMS issued revised guidance on SNF resident visitation.  Here is the summary

  • CMS is committed to continuing to take critical steps to ensure America’s healthcare facilities are prepared to respond to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency (PHE).
  • Visitation Guidance: CMS is issuing new guidance for visitation in nursing homes during the COVID-19 PHE, including the impact of COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Visitation is now allowed for all residents at all times.

I thought this paragraph important

We acknowledge that there are still concerns associated with visitation, such as visitation with an unvaccinated resident while the nursing home’s county COVID-19 level of community transmission is substantial or high. However, adherence to the core principles of COVID-19 infection prevention mitigates these concerns. Furthermore, we remind stakeholders that, per 42 CFR § 483.10(f)(2), the resident has the right to make choices about aspects of his or her life in the facility that are significant to the resident. We further note that residents may deny or withdraw consent for a visit at any time, per 42 CFR § 483.10(f)(4)(ii) and (iii). Therefore, if a 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 must be allowed to receive visitors as he/she chooses.

Although CMS says visitation is now available, there are still limitations:

Although there is no limit on the number of visitors that a resident can have at one time, visits should be conducted in a manner that adheres to the core principles of COVID-19 infection prevention and does not increase risk to other residents. Facilities should ensure that physical distancing can still be maintained during peak times of visitation (e.g., lunch time, after business hours, etc.). Also, facilities should avoid large gatherings (e.g., parties, events) where large numbers of visitors are in the same space at the same time and physical distancing cannot be maintained.

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