Despite the ongoing pandemic, in-person visitation is mandatory in California long term care facilities. However, a number of facilities are shutting down all in-person visitation indefinitely when a staff member or resident tests positive for COVID-19. Generally, these visitation lockouts are illegal.
Despite plummeting rates of COVID infections and deaths in nursing homes and the lifting of public health-oriented restrictions, long term care facilities throughout the state are still limiting visits from families and friends to a measly 30 minutes per week. Other facilities, in stark contrast, are permitting extensive daily visitation. The wide range of visitation policies among facilities has been enabled by the State’s continued waiver of laws that normally require broad visitation access for residents. Potential residents and their loved ones are strongly encouraged to speak with the managers of facilities they are considering and ask for written copies of their visitation policies.
CANHR has reviewed the various federal and California guidance regarding visitation in long term care facilities and synthesized the rules into a new fact sheet to guide residents and their families. The fact sheet highlights the types of visitation nursing homes and residential care facilities for the elderly must provide and under what conditions as well as the infection control protocols facilities may impose during visits. Download the Fact Sheet HERE (PDF)
After a year of stringent restrictions imposed because of COVID-19, the California Department of Social Services (DSS) released new guidance on March 19, 2021 significantly relaxing restrictions on visitors to Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFE).
CANHR has reviewed the various federal and California guidance regarding visitation in long term care facilities and synthesized the rules into a new fact sheet to guide residents and their families. The fact sheet highlights the types of visitation nursing homes and residential care facilities for the elderly must provide and under what conditions as well as the infection control protocols facilities may impose during visits.
State and federal authorities have issued a raft of new guidance on visitation. While many of these new rules significantly relax restrictions on visitors, some questions remain regarding areas of inconsistency between the two sets of rules.
A study from the American Health Care Association has found that the COVID-19 vaccines are contributing to lower infection rates and COVID spread in nursing homes. This study, based on preliminary data gathered shortly after the introduction of the vaccine in nursing homes in late 2020, provides evidence in favor of reopening nursing homes after its residents and staff have been vaccinated.
An October 2020 report by Altarum presents the findings of a survey of residents on how their lives have been impacted by the Covid-19 restrictions. Residents reported a drastic reduction in social activities and a steep increase in feelings of loneliness.
On September 17th, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a memo to the states, restoring visitation in nursing homes. CMS is requiring facilities to permit visitation whenever a facility has had no new COVID outbreaks for 14 days and the community positivity rate is less than 10%.
On August 25, the California Department of Public Health (DPH) issued All Facilities Letter 20-22.4 outlining some significant changes to the State’s ever-evolving guidance relating to visiting nursing homes and other health facilities during the COVID pandemic.
On June 26, the California Department of Public Health released a new policy regarding visitation that, for the first time since March, REQUIRES nursing homes to permit visitors for outdoor and indoor visits. Facilities with no current COVID-19 outbreak must permit outdoor visitation.
On June 26, the California Department of Social Services released updated guidance regarding visitation in PIN 20-23-ASC that, for the first time since March, REQUIRES assisted living facilities to permit visitors under specified narrow circumstances, and permits indoor and outdoor visitation when certain criteria are met.
A recent podcast from the Long Term Care Community Coalition takes on the tragedy of the visitation ban in long term care facilities. CANHR Staff Attorney Tony Chicotel and CANHR’s #VisitationSavesLives campaign is featured in the podcast. The episode is called “The Eyes, Ears, and Voice: Why Nursing Home Visitation Saves Lives.”
Courtesty of the Center for Medicare Advocacy The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently revised its guidance on visitations to nursing facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic via seven Frequently Asked Questions. CMS is authorizing additional, more flexible guidance on visitation, while reiterating the need for screening, social distancing, hand hygiene, and face coverings during all visits.
Every resident has the right to have at least one support person visitor permitted to visit in-person until the time when full visitation rights can be restored. Visitation is one of the most important and cherished rights of persons in long term care facilities. Visitation enhances the quality of life and the quality of care for all residents who receive it. Visitors provide crucial psychological and decision making support, direct care, and monitoring and supervision of care. Most importantly, visitors provide a loving familiarity that offsets the often traumatic impersonal nature of long term care facilities.
On May 18, 2020, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced new guidance seeking to perpetuate the extreme isolation of nursing home residents throughout the nation, perhaps for months or years to come.
Visitation is one of the most important and meaningful rights of long term care facility residents. Both U.S. and California law guarantee very broad access for residents to visit with friends, families, and others who provide critical support.
As part of the state government’s continuing efforts to stem the spread of the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable people, the Community Care Licensing Division of the State Department of Social Services (CCLD) has issued new, even stricter guidelines regarding visitor access to assisted living facilities housing California elders.