Federal Ban on Nursing Home Visits Lifted
In March, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) imposed a ban on nursing home visits due to concerns about transmitting COVID-19 to residents and nursing home staff. However, late in September, the agency lifted the ban, although it also instituted a series of new safety precautions with which nursing homes across the U.S. must comply. Facilities that fail to abide by these rules can be held liable, so if you recently visited a loved one and were concerned about the failure of the nursing home to implement infection prevention protocol, or were made aware of other alarming problems, please reach out to our experienced Tulsa nursing home abuse lawyers for help.
New Infection Prevention Procedures
Nursing homes are given discretion when it comes to creating rules for where visits will be conducted at their faculties, whether that involves visits in resident rooms, dedicated visitation spaces, or outdoors. There are, however, certain guidelines put in place by the CMS with which facilities must comply, including:
- Screening all visitors for signs of COVID-19 and denying anyone who does present certain signs (e.g. a high temperature);
- Following hand hygiene protocol;
- Using face coverings or masks;
- Implementing a social distancing policy;
- Providing visitors with instruction signage throughout the facility;
- Cleaning and disinfecting high frequency touched surfaces and designated visitation areas;
- Supplying staff members with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE);
- Creating a separate area dedicated to COVID-19 care; and
- Conducting regular resident and staff testing.
There is also currently a sliding scale for visitation during the pandemic, as facilities have been encouraged to use the county positivity rate when determining whether reopening is possible. For instance, if the rate of COVID-19 infections in a county is ten percent or lower, visits are allowed as long as facilities comply with all CMS guidelines. When the rate is above ten percent, however, visiting should only be allowed in compassionate care situations.
In addition to the CMS guidelines, the Oklahoma State Department of Health has also implemented a series of rules for long-term care facilities. For instance, all facilities were required to designate a licensed healthcare professional to act as an infection preventionist (IP) by the end of August. Nursing homes and long-term care facilities have also been directed to provide the Department of Health with an Infection Prevention and Control Risk Assessment and a monitoring plan for each facility’s infection surveillance, training protocols, adherence to infection prevention practices and PPE practices, and the establishment of bi-weekly performance monitoring.
Call Today to Set Up a Complimentary Consultation
If you recently visited a loved one in a nursing home and were concerned about the state of the facility’s infection control procedures, or recognized signs of resident abuse, you should speak with an attorney who can help you hold the negligent facility accountable. Please call 918-492-4433 to learn more about your legal options from one of the experienced Tulsa nursing home abuse attorneys at Levinson Law, P.C. today.