Nursing Home Visitation Resumes Amid COVID-19 Vaccination Rollout

March 15, 2021Articles

On March 10, 2021, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), in association with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), issued updated guidance for nursing homes to resume visitation options during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nursing homes have been devastatingly effected by COVID-19, with outbreaks causing high rates of infection and death.[1] As a result, CMS had previously enacted strict visitation guidelines in order to slow the spread of the virus in nursing homes.[2]

Now, with the successful administration of the COVID-19 vaccine, and reduced positivity rates, CMS is updating its recommendations to allow for visitation to resume in nursing homes.[3] As outlined in the updated guidance, nursing homes can now allow indoor visitation at all times for all residents, regardless of vaccination status of the visitor or resident. Visitation may still be limited for the following:

  • 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.

Visits for compassionate care, such as an end-of-life situation, may be allowed at all times for any resident (vaccinated or unvaccinated), regardless of the above scenarios.

Even though indoor visitation may resume in nursing homes, CMS strongly recommends that all facilities and visitors continue all infection prevention and control practices, including maintaining physical distancing, wearing a mask, and conducting visits outdoors whenever possible. If you have any questions relating to COVID-19 guidance and nursing homes, please contact Timothy J. Cahill or Sydney N. Pahren.