CMS Updates COVID-19 Recommendations for Healthcare and Nursing Home Settings

Published by Laurie McLendon on

Under new guidance, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), issued updated guidance for nursing homes to safely expand visitation options during the COVID-19 pandemic public health emergency on March 10, 2021. 

As of March 10, nearly 9.9% of the U.S. adult population had been fully vaccinated according to CDC data and 18.8% of U.S. adults had received at least one dose of a vaccine. When it comes to the nation’s at-risk senior population, 61.2% of people 65 and older have so far received at least one dose.

“CMS recognizes the psychological, emotional and physical toll that prolonged isolation and separation from family have taken on nursing home residents, and their families,” said Dr. Lee Fleisher, MD, CMS Chief Medical Officer and Director of CMS’ Center for Clinical Standards and Quality. “That is why, now that millions of vaccines have been administered to nursing home residents and staff, and the number of COVID cases in nursing homes has dropped significantly, CMS is updating its visitation guidance to bring more families together safely. This is an important step that we are taking, as we continue to emphasize the importance of maintaining infection prevention practices, given the continued risk of transmission of COVID-19.”

The recommendations did come with suggested limits, saying that “responsible indoor visitation” should be allowed at all times unless certain situations arise such as:

  • A guest is visiting an unvaccinated resident in a county where the Covid-19 positivity rate is higher than 10% and less than 70% of residents in the nursing home have been fully vaccinated. The guidance also says to limit visits if residents have Covid-19 or are in quarantine.
  • Residents with a confirmed COVID-19 infection, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, should have limited visitation until they have met the criteria to discontinue transmission-based precautions.
  • Residents in quarantine, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, should have limited visitation until they meet the criteria to be released from quarantine.

While indoor visits are acceptable, outdoor visits are preferred because of a lower risk of transmission, even when the residents and guests have been fully vaccinated.

If you are interested in scheduling a visit with a loved one at ICR, please contact us! 

Categories: Blog- ICR