This week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published revised guidelines for nursing home visits during the pandemic.

The new recommendations are the first revision to the federal government’s nursing home guidance since September 2020. They are effective immediately.

The new recommendations allow indoor and outdoor visits for all residents, except in limited circumstances. The recommendations indicate that “responsible indoor visitation” should be allowed at all times. “Responsible indoor visitation” allows guests the freedom to go inside to see residents regardless of whether the visitors or the residents have been vaccinated, unless a guest is visiting an unvaccinated resident in a county where the Covid-19 positivity rate is higher than 10 percent and less than 70 percent 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.

Federal officials said in the new guidance that outdoor visits were still preferable because of a lower risk of transmission, even when the residents and guests have been fully vaccinated.

“Compassionate care” visits — visits that occur when a resident’s health has severely deteriorated — will continue to be allowed under the regulations regardless of vaccination status or the county’s positivity rate.

A link to the CMS press release regarding the new recommendations follows: Press Release 

The new recommendations are attached here – 

Download (PDF, 326KB)

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