Visitation is Coming Back for Long-Term-Care Facilities

CMS issues new guidelines that allow visitors back in long-term-care facilities

Due to Governor Abbott’s lift of the mask mandate and opening of Texas businesses 100%, many LTC operators have been wondering when they will be next.

The impact of COVID-19 has been detrimental to LTC communities. Residents who were not taken by the virus were hit with extended isolation often leading to depression. Many operators have been awaiting new guidelines so they can more easily get their residents reconnected with the community and their loved ones.

Since vaccinations began in December, COVID cases in LTC facilities have dropped 83%, along with deaths, dropping by 66%. Due to the drastic drop in cases and deaths the CMS announced new guidelines for visitation.

“Today, CMS is announcing guidance on expanding indoor visitation in nursing homes, in response to significant reductions in COVID-19 infections and transmission resulting from ongoing infection control practices, and high vaccination rates in the nursing home population…”

Indoor visitation has opened back up, and residents may be visited by their loved ones. If the resident is unvaccinated there are a few guidelines that must be met, and residents who are positive or in quarantine cannot be visited until they have “met the criteria for release.” 

Even though visitors are not required to have a vaccination to visit a loved one, CMS is highly recommending facilities encourage loved ones to get the vaccine as soon as they are able, and perform COVID tests for every outside visitor before being permitted to enter the facility.

PPE and infection prevention and control (IPC) policies should still remain in place. Despite the effectiveness of the vaccination, infection is still a major problem in the healthcare industry. Staff training and using proper disinfecting equipment are still essentials for every LTC facility.

The CDC is also still recommending that social distancing, mask wearing, and other COVID-19 protocols be performed when loved ones visit residents. Overall, this is great news for LTC facilities in Texas and across the nation. Residents being reconnected to their loved ones will help drastically improve resident mental health, morale, and outcomes.

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