Communication is Key

Your loved one has the right to visitors. The facility can limit access to protect your loved one and other residents. This balance is difficult, requiring close cooperation between families and friends of residents and the facility administrators.

Visit Protocols

Visitation can be conducted differently based on the facility’s environment and residents’ needs. For example, visits could take place in resident rooms, dedicated visitation spaces, outdoors, and for circumstances beyond compassionate care situations. Regardless of how visits are conducted, there are certain core principles and best practices facilities should implement to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, such as:

  • Screening visitors for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 (temperature checks, questions about symptoms) and denial of entry for those with signs or symptoms
  • Hand hygiene
  • Face covering or mask
  • Social distancing at least 6 feet between persons
  • Appropriate staff use of personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Resident and staff testing as required by CMS guidelines

Outdoor Visits

While taking a person-centered approach and adhering to the core principles of COVID-19 infection prevention, CMS prefers outdoor visitation that can be conducted in a manner that reduces the risk of transmission whenever practical. Outdoor visits pose a lower risk of transmission due to increased space and airflow.

Compassionate Care Visits

Allowing a visit in these situations would be consistent with the intent of compassionate care situations:

  • A recently admitted resident who was living with their family before is struggling with the change in environment and lack of physical family support
  • A resident who is grieving after a friend or family member recently passed away A resident who needs cueing and encouragement with eating or drinking, previously provided by family and/or caregiver(s), is experiencing weight loss or dehydration
  • A resident, who used to talk and interact with others, is experiencing emotional distress, seldom speaking, or crying more frequently
Long Term Care Visitation Guidance