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The CMS Releases New Guidelines for Nursing Home Visitation Protocols

cms guidelines for nursing home visitation protocolsIt’s no secret that nursing homes have taken a hard hit during the pandemic. Over the past year, COVID-19 outbreaks in nursing homes have resulted in high rates of infection, hospitalization, and death, making nursing home residents one of the most vulnerable populations during the pandemic. The inherent risks associated with aggregate living in a healthcare setting have required quick, aggressive efforts to reduce COVID exposure in these at-risk settings. As a result, many health organizations—including the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)—have provided detailed guidelines for nursing home operations during this unprecedented time. 

The CMS recently released a new set of guidelines for nursing home pandemic procedures, which comes in response to the emotional and physical toll that the separation enforced by original guidelines has taken on many nursing home residents. The strict protocol originally suggested by health organizations has left many residents feeling socially isolated, leading to increased cases of depression and anxiety. Specifically, residents with cognitive impairment or other debilitating conditions have especially struggled from the ongoing physical separation from loved ones. 

The CMS, along with other health organizations, have recognized the physical and emotional toll that visitation rules have had on nursing home residents, which is why they decided to update their guidelines. 

New Guidance on Visitation Protocol Published by the CMS

A nursing home’s facility and grounds will likely influence the visitation that they will be able to allow. Whether a nursing home has a dedicated visitation space or only allows visits outdoors, there are certain core principles and best practices the CMS recommends in their new publication to reduce the risk of COVID transmission while expanding visitation. These include: 

  • Screening all individuals who enter the facility for COVID symptoms, such as conducting temperature checks and asking contact tracing questions
  • Enforcing hand washing and hygiene by requiring visitors to clean their hands with an alcohol-based rub
  • Keeping all visitations to a distance of six feet
  • Enforcing a face-covering policy that requires visitors to wear a mask that covers their mouth and nose
  • Keeping to a strict cleaning schedule of the facility that includes regularly disinfecting areas of high traffic

The CMS hopes that in keeping to these core principles, visitation can safely be expanded in nursing homes. 

Call an Expert Nursing Home Coronavirus Lawyer in New York City

During this trying time, nursing homes must implement essential safety precautions to protect both their residents and employees from COVID exposure. While many nursing homes have been able to meet the challenge by following the guidelines and protocols put out by health organizations, others have neglected the health and safety of their vulnerable populations. If you suspect a loved one has suffered neglect during the coronavirus pandemic, the attorneys at Dalli & Marino are here to help. 

Our seasoned New York trial attorneys have been aggressively advocating for victims of nursing abuse since 1996. We are committed to cultivating strong relationships with our clients through trusted, reliable communication. Our team of skilled attorneys approaches each case on an individual basis and is dedicated to helping you recover the money you deserve to compensate you for your experience. Give us a call at (888) 465-8790 or complete our contact form today.