Nursing Home Visitation Amid COVID-19 Vaccinations
While most of us experienced a sigh of relief when the first COVID-19 vaccinations started being administered, a lot of confusion still remains about the process. Many nursing homes, for instance, have still not reinstated former visitation procedures, while others don’t have any process in place at all. Fortunately, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued guidelines to nursing homes across the country, offering advice on how to safely reinstate in-person visitation. If your own loved one’s nursing home administrators are failing to address the psychosocial needs of its residents by reinstating some form of visitation, please call one of our dedicated Tulsa nursing home abuse lawyers for help.
The Importance of Reinstating Visitation
Over the last year, nursing home residents have proven to be amongst the most vulnerable when it comes to contracting COVID-19. Initially, many nursing homes shut down any form of visitation in an effort to stop the spread of the disease. For the most part, these policies were extremely effective. With the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine in recent months, however, experts have begun to raise concerns about the psychosocial effects of continued and prolonged isolation on nursing home residents.
As states across the U.S. are seeing a drop in the number of new COVID-19 cases, many nursing homes are being directed to open their doors to visitors. Outdoor visitation, in particular, is being encouraged among nursing homes where adequate infection control practices have been implemented and the number of active cases has been dropping. In fact, CMS recommends that all visits should be held outdoors when practicable and directs nursing homes to create safe and accessible outdoor spaces to achieve this.
Nursing homes have also been advised to reinstate indoor visitation if:
- There have been no new onset of COVID-19 cases in the last two weeks;
- Their facility is no longer conducting outbreak testing;
- Their facility has created procedures for limiting the number of visits per resident at a time; and
- Their facility is prepared to limit movement beyond designated visitation areas.
Nursing home administrators are also specifically directed to take certain factors into consideration when determining whether visitation is possible, including whether a resident is suffering from a lack of physical family support, whether a resident is experiencing weight loss, and whether a resident is experiencing emotional distress. In fact, nursing homes are actually required to permit in-person visitation in certain cases, namely when there is no reasonable clinical or safety cause, such as infection rates, to restrict infection. If, for instance, a facility hasn’t had a COVID-19 case in two weeks and its county positivity rate has registered as low or medium, then that nursing home must facilitate in-person visitation. Those that fail to do so are in violation of federal law and can be held liable for their failure to protect their residents’ well-being.
Tulsa Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
If your own loved one is a resident of a nursing home and is still not being allowed to receive in-person visits from family members, please call 918-492-4433 to set up a meeting with one of the experienced Tulsa nursing home abuse lawyers at Levinson Law, P.C. today.